Date of Award
Master of Fine Arts (MFA)
What if the objects we had as children grew up with us and showed the decay, alterations, and new growth that occurred to us?
Natural sciences focus, in part, on the endless cycle of growth and decay. Through researching this topic, the question of current versus past arose to question how the mind evolves with age. As a ceramic artist, clay offers a memory through touch by taking the shape and form the creator wills it to have while still able to have movement and force of its own through the molecular makeup and processes it goes through in firings. Just like the many factors that create a ceramic piece, people form memories that revolve around sensory activity, the situations they face, and the impact of emotion occurring at that moment. I use clay to understand a tangible way to represent the human memory of objects, stories, and personal history.
The art presented in this thesis aims for memories to take up physical space through ceramic sculptures, shifting and altering the way we think about our past. The ceramic pieces incorporate hand-built fungi and draped forms to evoke this sense of decay and growth. Fungi often need an external host to survive on, and when paired with the notion of draping, a way to cover and preserve objects, my pieces become ghostly ceramic shells of objects being altered in an endless cycle. Through this symbolism, I am able to show that while some situations decay from memories, they become hosts for new ideas.
In the pages that follow, you will find an in depth discussion of how I use clay to represent memory, decay, and growth. This will occur through three chapters where I talk through my process (encoding), the artist, influences, and theories behind my work (storing), and finally the success, limitations, use, and learning outcomes I achieved (retrieving). To conclude you will find a summary and the next step in my career (altering).
Buglio, Rebecca J., "Memory: tangible decay & growth" (2016). Masters Theses. 37.