Friday, March 1, 2013

Ceramics major hopes to make 'functional pottery for all'

By Rachel Diebel, A&E Writer

For ceramics major and first-year Sarah Henderson, art has been a prominent part of life since childhood.

At five-years-old, Henderson drew a picture of a rabbit and what was probably a horse — one of her earliest pieces of art. "That's the first one [artwork] I remember," Henderson said.

Since the early days of her art, Henderson said she has been interested in creating collages and using hot glue.

Ceramics is similar to gluing things together, "taking different ideas and applying them to one piece," Henderson said.

Artistic flair runs in the family. Henderson said her dad also enjoys gluing things together and transforming random junk into artwork. Both of her grandmothers are artists as well, and one is a painter with her own studio.

Henderson said she always took initiative with her art. "My mom tells me that she never had to worry about giving me markers or anything like that. I always just drew on paper."

Throughout elementary school, Henderson said she enjoyed every art project. "I guess I’ve always just kind of known I liked it [art]," Henderson said.

Her first experience with ceramics though, came in high school when she finally got the opportunity to sign up for a ceramics class.

"I just fell in love with it," Henderson said. "I’m very tactile and I love working with my hands. It makes more sense to me to be really hands on, building things and throwing on the wheel."

Even though Henderson said her love for ceramics is strong, she is practical about the future and what it might hold for a ceramics major.

"I definitely have a dream," she said. Near the end of high school, Henderson said one of her goals was to make functional pottery for all.

This type of pottery not only looks artistic and beautiful, but also works on a practical level as bowls or cups, moving it beyond mere decoration.

"I like the idea that there’s an interaction that happens between the artist and the viewer with functional pottery," Henderson said. As you use a cup or some other object, you experience a "communal feeling of communication."

Henderson realizes that the market for functional pottery is not large, so she has a back up plan.

"I think that having art in the schools is really important, so I’m definitely looking into being a teacher," Henderson said. "I think there’s so much to lose if the arts are lost, so I think it’s a big deal to try to learn as much as I can now so I can maybe pass it on later."

She was inspired by several educators herself at Pacific Lutheran University, such as Assistant Professor Micheal Stasinos and a visiting professor Craig Cornwall.

It was PLU art instructor Steve Sobeck though, Henderson said, who encouraged her to take ceramics seriously and choose it as a major.

Henderson said even though PLU is not an "art" school, it is the perfect place to foster her love for ceramics. "It feels like home," she said. "I feel like I can just come here whenever I want and be free to create."