Short bio, where are you from, what is your background?

I was born and raised in this great state of Wisconsin. I spent the first eighteen years of my life in Waukesha. I enrolled in the undergraduate program at The University of Minnesota Twin Cities in 2016 and received my Bachelor of Fine Arts in ceramics in the spring of 2020. After graduation, I worked in a grocery store for a year while applying for grad school. Now I live in Madison and attend The University of Wisconsin in the MFA program.

Tell us about your project that is in the exhibition.

I originally created the work in this exhibition during my final year in my BFA program as my thesis work. That semester took place during the beginning of the pandemic which forced me to make my work suitable for an online platform. I took to photographing my ceramic sculptures in relationship to my body and placed them in digital landscapes. This process pushed me to imagine endless possibilities for the original object. Three-dimensional work became portable and accessible through digital means as well as print.

What is your process like when your making work?

My process starts in clay. I hold on to emotionally charged moments and express them intuitively through hand build ceramic sculpture. The ceramic process requires a lot of time and intimacy with the material. After a body of work has been fired and glazed, I take time to form a relationship with the objects and my body, documenting the process with images. These images become the pieces I cut up and draw on in Photoshop, which is what you see as the work.

How does mental health or wellness factor into the creation of your work?

Although I’m a firm believer that art can be healing and a healthy way of getting out emotion, I feel most inspired when I’m mentally well. I spend a great deal of time taking care of my mind and body to allow my creativity to thrive. I find it important to seek out opportunities that allow for flexible schedules and sporadic making.

How did you begin this project?

I began making this project way out of necessity. It all starts with forming a significant bond with an object I’ve made.

Was the process of creating this project helpful for dealing with the emotion or issue you're describing in your images?

I think the process of making in general is helpful for dealing with emotions. The significance of these images is personal and healing, but the focus it takes to create something in general is where the real catharsis comes from.

Has the pandemic shifted the way you approach your work at all?

I never saw myself working with two- dimensional art or digital art before the pandemic, especially related to ceramics. Has the stigma around mental health affected your art practice? I’m having a really hard time coming up with an answer to this. I find I’ve been very lucky to be immersed in communities that support me. My art describes my experiences in personal relationships rather than in society where stigma would be present. I think the part of mental health and art sharing that’s difficult to navigate is boundaries. As in, what is appropriate or necessary to share and what should be left open to interpretation.

How has stigma affected your life in general?

I’m lucky enough to mainly interact with people who understand mental illness. One of the things I sometimes struggle to explain is my limitations. People often expect things of me that are out of my capacity and explaining this can be difficult.

How do you think Art could help end stigma around mental illness and mental health?

I already see art as having a major role in ending stigma. I think the more people express themselves and share their experiences, the more knowledgeable we become as a society.

Is there anything else you would like folks viewing your work to know about it or in general? What are your closing thoughts?

I hope you can feel pieces of yourself responding to the images!

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