Reacting to the inherent qualities of clay this thesis is an exploration into how mass, color, expressionistic textures, quiet neutral planes, and the materiality of clay can embody extreme contradiction and tension in abstract ceramic sculpture. The body of work begins as a massive blank canvas awaiting my response of the moment. Each form is acted upon differently but holds in common a stretching of the expressivist potential of clay. This exploration is driven by my struggles with the extreme highs and lows of bipolar disorder.

That was the premise of my thesis before I began working on it. As the work took shape, it became apparent that it was an exploration in surface, specifically in color. This exploration took me through techniques of manipulating color that ranged from saturating porcelain with ceramic stains to layering wet clay with wet glaze and handfuls of stains and then stretching the clay to create new fields of color. Having set strict parameters for myself (working only in sculptural cylinders and building each object within one working day) to create a constant among the many variables of color. These parameters became more important as the work continued to evolve.

Here the work became an artifact of time - a record of making and maker. This thesis is a record of that evolution.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Ceramic sculpture--Themes, motives; Ceramic sculpture--Technique; Color in art

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Ceramics (MFA)

Department, Program, or Center

School for American Crafts (CAD)


Jane Shellenbarger

Advisor/Committee Member

Elizabeth Kronfield

Advisor/Committee Member

Peter Pincus


RIT – Main Campus

Plan Codes