Sabrina Skinner: Senior, BFA Ceramics and Art History
How has working with the kiln fostered your growth as an artist?
Working with the anagama kiln has definitely given me a look into my future and made me even more excited for it. Pursuing a career in ceramics, I hope to continue working with wood firings and exploring the many ways to manipulate glazes and temperature in that environment. The experience has also fueled my work ethic and confidence in my abilities. Thanks to preparing for the wood kiln, I now know how to operate machinery I didn’t before and have experience in managing a large group of people to accomplish a singular goal. My art has also improved, with my stylistic and aesthetic preferences becoming more fluid to match the variability of wood firings.
Describe how this experience allowed you to apply what you learned in the classroom.
To apply the skills of the wood kiln to the classroom, one must consider what they were able to accomplish in such a small amount of time. Using that framework to motivate yourself in terms of time management or size estimation can be very useful. Also, the grinding of kiln shelves and glazed pieces are always worthwhile skills.
How has working with faculty like Professor Collins made you excited about honing existing skills and/or learning new techniques?
Getting to see Professor [David] Collins and Professor [Nathan] Carnes in their element – actively involved in throwing, glazing and kiln management – has been very inspirational. In the ceramics department, we’re lucky enough to have two very skilled and passionate professors who are just as amazing at teaching as they are at creating their own artwork. Learning from them in the sense of mastering technical skills and helpful techniques is always important, but being introduced to their studio practices and life perspectives as artists is equally as pertinent to growing as an art student.
If you would feel comfortable sharing, we’d love to see a picture of your finished piece. Could you also include the title, if there is one, and the inspiration behind your work?
While I had a lot of work put into the wood kiln, one piece that I am especially pleased with is a mold-formed plate I made incorporating press molded skulls and glass. “Shadows on the Sea” is the third plate I’ve made using this style. Each one has been slightly different in terms of color or design, yet with each one, I’ve greatly enjoyed integrating glass and more fluid glazes, with the wood ash of the anagama. The inspiration behind this piece is a combination of experimental play, as well as focusing on expressing aesthetic contrast in terms of beauty and decay.