Joshua DeWall


Growing up in a mostly rural area in the Midwest, I spent great lengths outside as a child. Sure, I was born into the era of arcade games and Nintendo, but I remember preferring more active experiences rather than the stationary ones held within doors. Maybe it was hard to keep my focus; maybe I was a bit hyperactive. Whatever the reason, I wasn’t inside when I didn’t have to be. I recall escaping into the woods for hours when I was younger. I would take long bike rides or escape into the horse pasture deep behind our house. Not only did the woods and fields interest me, but I recall a deep fascination with water. A lot of childhood memories consisted of catching reptiles of all kinds, fishing for crayfish, or just spending large amounts of time near creeks, streams, and rivers. My close proximity to the Mississippi River is most likely an influence on my affection for the water.

I relished the opportunity to venture within and explore my natural surroundings.

These early experiences subconsciously and perhaps directly affect my creative responses and decisions as a maker. Unwittingly researching form and unknowingly studying pattern from the beginning has helped to shape me as person.

It seemed that I had a pre-natural fascination with the non man-made. Humorously, I remember as child that my family used to go to a dinner club with my grandparents whenever we would visit them. I always ordered crab legs due to the rare opportunity to do so. Many times a week after the dinner my parent’s car would produce a foul odor produced by the crab legs that I had saved as toys. I used to do all sorts of quirky things like that, but I know it stemmed from a desire to understand.

I have been a fortunate individual. With a father as a sales representative for a travel company, I have many times had the opportunity to travel and experience many different climates and geographical features within different regions of the United States, as well as a few other countries. It has been a privilege to be able to visit new places. With every travel opportunity I have witnessed different animals, plant life, and varieties of land formations. I relish this feeling of “Wow, I have never seen that in real life before”. The results of traveling and new experiences ultimately lead to new interests, ideas, and questions waiting to be answered.

My youthful ideas and concerns have presently carried over into my daily life. I am still that boy filled with wonderment when I wander outdoors, always playing, looking, and speculating. The visual forms of our world are directly affected by physical and universal properties. Therein lies the obvious similarities within different materials and substances. It is this need of an understanding and insight that drives me. The forms and shapes within different natural substances seem to have common threads. A person must ask oneself, for instance, why do tree branches look like lighting which looks like river systems? It cannot be coincidental. The underlying formal themes of nature seem to be linked. The re-occurrences are all too common. Understanding this gives insight to how our world works and we exist.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Glass art--Themes, motives; Nature in art

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Glass (MFA)

Department, Program, or Center

School for American Crafts (CAD)


Michael Rogers

Advisor/Committee Member

David Schunckel

Advisor/Committee Member

Rich Tannen


RIT – Main Campus

Plan Codes