Sarah Vaughn


The Beginning is the End of the Piece You Started With:

I want to explore the use of visual narrative to convey the breadth of emotion within a moment. The scenes I create are snapshots of stories whose roots are based in my own memories. These pieces from my mind are usually partial and fleeting, recalled as if viewing my own life from a third person perspective. Primarily through the use of advanced methods in kiln forming glass, the work will create a three dimensional illustration of these experiences.

The Art of Reconstruction:

I think about life, what I am making, and why I am making it. I look back to the past as well as where I am, and the people I have let in or out of my life. The lines separating the actual events blur; the real and the imagined become one memory and, at times, the reality of a situation gives way to a metaphor created to convey what I am feeling while removing the personal experience. This neutrality allows me the opportunity to focus on what happened internally and how that has taken an effect on me. To simplify, the objective of my MFA Thesis body of work is to tell a story whose roots are based in a personal reality, yet stands before the viewer as an ambiguous, fantastical narrative.

It is my intention to create pages from made up stories depicting moments from the life or adventures of a girl. Watching her placed again and again in situations without being aware of how she got there, how she dealt with them, not knowing if she conquered the problem she is presented with, or if it defeated her gives the viewer the option to become more invested in the girl’s story. They are given the opportunity to finish her story in their own minds. By removing many of the direct references to time, place, or my personal experiences from the visual context leaves a vague scenario; an objective situation is provided to consider. I am creating a tangible representation of the intangible sentiments of human emotion and personal memory.

These pieces are representational of the world as I see it I remember it through my distorted eyes and years. It is important to me that the girl – while she is most likely the same girl and most likely me – has an ambiguous age. She is child and adult at the same time. This agelessness, this uncertainty of her age, speaks to the years that some of the emotions and memories I am referencing span. I see my hands as huge, my wrists as long and skinny, waist as nonexistent and hips prominent. The physical attributes are not vain; they are simply a select few distorted versions of me that I see when I reflect upon my life.

The events that I choose to represent have no environment. I see the environment as something that ties the experience to my specific memories and life. By removing details of the specific time and place I am not only able to relate to various moments from my own past, but also allow the viewer more freedom to fill in the gaps with their own personal narratives. When I recall events I recall multiple events at a time: memories similar in their nature, their emotion and in their content. Yet I find their landscape to be geographically so different, years and time zones apart. I find myself represented as a child, a teenager and a grown woman all at once. Perhaps the scenes will have a detailed environment but the others exist in no specific time. The ones that seem to span the years, the repetitious moments I find myself reliving again and again. These are the instants that will live in an invisible, nonexistent place in my mind; a space unconstrained with the details of geography and focused on the repeat events. It is a cycle I seemed doomed to repeat for eternity. There will always be light, but the night will always follow.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Glass art--Themes, motives; Glass art--Technique; Glass sculpture--Themes, motives; Glass sculpture--Technique; Memory in art

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Glass (MFA)

Department, Program, or Center

School for American Crafts (CIAS)


Michael Rogers

Advisor/Committee Member

David Schnuckel

Advisor/Committee Member

Carlos Caballero-Perez


Physical copy available from RIT's Wallace Library at NB1270.G4 V38 2014


RIT – Main Campus

Plan Codes