“Poetry [or Pottery] is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility.” –William Wordsworth

It is easy to romanticize the past. Driving past a dairy farm, reading animal noise books with a daughter, drawing a picture with a brother—moments that seem ordinary become more significant as time passes. Even difficult moments—sleepless nights, traffic jams, tantrums— soften and transform as they are “recollected in tranquility.”

Such everyday memories inspire my work with clay. Each object becomes a monument to moments in my personal narrative. At the same time I use elements of historical ceramics, relating to them through parody, pun, and craftsmanship. In this way tiny pieces from the life of ceramics help me tell the story of my own life.

In this thesis my feelings and memories are on display—like Animals in Captivity. The work is informed by spirit, and influenced both by personal history and historical ceramics. What makes it fanciful is the daily mystery of how, with time, the mundane becomes numinous in the kiln of the human heart.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Ceramic sculpture--Themes, motives; Ceramic sculpture--Technique; Pottery--Themes, motives; Pottery--Technique; Animals 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

Denton Crawford

Advisor/Committee Member

Peter Pincus


RIT – Main Campus

Plan Codes