Each individual makes a contribution to our culture and exploring these unique qualities has become the focus of my work. I believe that in all aspects of life it is crucial to focus on details that make individual efforts valuable instead of generalizing people or ideas. Humans take in as much information as possible and form generalizations. We do this habitually with different cultures and groups of people with similar traits or beliefs. My goal as an artist is to prompt the viewer to contemplate the importance of every person in making our world function on a day to day basis.
In today’s climate, we are pushed to believe that it is acceptable to judge individuals based on the group with which they are associated.
We are too often quick to judge those groups of people by the stereotypes that are wrongly given to them. I believe that it is essential to confront this topic because it is prevalent in our everyday lives.
Partnering with the kiln allows me to relinquish some control over the final look of my pieces. Many of my sculptures are soaked in a brine solution and placed in a gas kiln. Each firing is a little different and this results in unique surfaces and distinctly individual pieces. Pit-firing is another method for creating surfaces with inimitable and distinctive patterning. I appreciate these glazing and firing techniques because they have been used for thousands of years.
My sculptural works are formed from coils because I appreciate the aesthetic of the coil, whether it is smoothed over, or the raw edge is left to be seen. Building each layer in this manner supports the notion of “swarm” (single bees coming together to build their hive and maintain a foundation for the next generation of bees) which is an influence my work. It also supports the metaphor of an individual person working to support their culture compared one bee, working to support the “swarm”. A single coil serves its purpose in supporting the next coil that is attached, creating a whole and sturdy piece.
My work will continue on with this notion until the day comes where we no longer have prejudice towards others and we can all work in building a better life for the next generations to come.
Kelly Devitt is a Ceramic Research Assistant for both the ISU Computation and Construction Lab and the ISU Integrated Visual Arts Department. Her research explores Cone 6 and High Fire glazes, the use of different clay bodies and consistency in ceramic 3D printing, and her personal work explores large sculptural forms. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Iowa State University and plans to continue her education in ceramic arts.