Millions of emotions, some that don’t even have names to describe them, all captured into one slab of clay. Writing and speaking are ways that people express their feelings, but those aren’t the only ways. Art hasn’t always just been realistic or literal; many paintings and sculptures have deeper meanings depicted in them, representing a hardship or an emotion that couldn’t be expressed into just a few words.
The Ceramics and Art 2 classes are currently working on a project that focuses on these characteristics of creating a piece that has meaning and feeling to it that’s unique to the student. This project is called “emerge” and the ceramics teacher, Chamillia Hervey, is the one who’s overseeing the students’ work and helping them express their ideas through their project.
“The emerge project is a project where we look at art from a conceptual point of view vs objective, which is where the object is more important, but the emerge project because it is conceptual, the concept is just as important as the object itself. The idea behind it, the feelings that are being conveyed, the emotions, and opinions, are equally important to the end result is,” said Hervey.
Since this project is conceptual and the idea is important to the project, the students had to make their own plan and layout for their individual sculpture or artwork.
“I wanted the students to draw from a personal experience and I wanted them to be familiar with the topic. I want them to have a feel for this project rather than just making art just to be making it,” Hervey said.
Sophomore, Gracie Howard, who is currently in the ceramics class, is depicting her past struggles through a ceramic sculpture, and though her adversity in the past is a common one, her work is what makes it unique to her.
“I’m making a shock box based on the sports I play, swim and dive, and on the outside I want it to be detailed and intricate and on the inside when you open it up I’m going to use medals I have at home to use as stamps and make it look like medals hanging. And what that symbolizes to me is that I get really bad anxiety when I swim, and although I love it I do get nervous at meets, and I wanted to show that even though I do love it and am successful I do still have my own insecurities,” said Howard.
This isn’t the first major project the students have done in ceramics or Art 2, but the depth this assignment has makes it different from most other art projects or sculptures.
“I think, especially working with clay, that art is very therapeutic, and I love art in itself, but this project is cool because you’re working for months on it and when it’s done you can think ‘I did that’, and it’s beautiful and also represents you going through and overcoming something,” Howard said.
The symbolization of these art pieces can have a similiar emotion to another student’s project. Camila Perez, junior, experienced anxiety just as Howard had, but her representation of it came out much differently.
“I’m doing a bust of a head with decoration on the face of flowers to represent having to hide anxiety and depression. I have a lot of pride for the sculpture I’m doing because I’ve overcome a lot at such a young age and seeing it in something I made feels great,” said Perez.
The positive reactions of the students in the classes doing this project brought awareness to the fact you can express your feelings and also engage in a hands on, creative hobby. This assignment doesn’t just have academic advantages though; the expression of emotion and overcoming a hardship through their creation makes it easier to communicate the past to their peers and family.
“The world today that we live in makes it hard to talk about stuff, and even if you’re going through something, it’s easier to make everything look okay and fine, or on the other hand you have people who all they talk about is their problems because they don’t know how else to get past it. So the whole point of this emerge project was to get these feelings on paper, and talk about this situation you went through, and how you went through it. Once you do that you have a foundation to base your project off of and express that into your work. So I absolutely think this project goes cross curricular in so many ways,” said Hervey.
High school can be a difficult time, and there are many obstacles in life that students overcome and don’t know how to express their feelings or talk about them out loud. The emerge project is meant to channel that into a piece of work, and at the end of it, not only will the artist have a visual reminder of something they made that represents a deeper meaning, but they’ll have pride knowing they created a work of art that depicts their strength of coming out of a challenging situation to the other side.