Science Leadership Academy [staging] Learn · Create · Lead

You are currently viewing a read-only archive of an old version of Slate.

Jennifer Wright Capstone

I began creating pottery in Junior year of high school and the thought of breaking a piece or it falling to its fragmented end off the end of the counter was a painful idea at best. It takes so much time and love to throw a bowl or cup, trim the foot and fire it twice over. For it to survive as a functioning piece of ceramics was a marvel to me. 

All that changed when I began this project. 

When I considered what type of project to do, I knew I would enjoy something artistic, especially if it involved my new found love of ceramics

SLA has had a ceramics class for 5 years and over time beginner pieces have accumulated in the studio. Pots, plates, and vases of all colors and sizes were left behind by students to collect dust. 

It should be said that I'd only done small scale mosaics in various art classes over the years-- I have never even done any piece of artwork this large. Using the 30-40 pieces left over from the ceramics class, I created a 13.5 sq ft mosaic. 

When I work with ceramic I am reminded that nothing is permanent and anything can be repurposed to make something completely new. The concept of recycling or "up-cycling" these pieces was a major concept for this project. I begin a piece by making many designs. I like having options and then choosing the one that speaks to me most. The design that I settled on, the silhouetted skyline of Philadelphia, was first and foremost something that means a lot to me, but also a manageable design for a beginner like myself. 

A combination of smashing the pieces with a hammer and throwing them into cardboard boxes allowed me to make usable tiles for the mosaic. 

When my work is going well, I am filled with a sense of vitality-- I don't feel anything but excitement for this project. Many times, I found myself most productive during the night time. My house was quiet and it felt like I was in my own little world. I never felt tired until I finished what I set out to do in a session of work. 

There is a sense of finality that comes with mosaic art because once it is glued and grouted it is permanent and cannot be changed. It was a huge challenge for my perfectionism because I had to sort through many tiles that were less than perfect and choose to use them. It was the beauty of recycling tiles instead of using tesserae- the unusual shape and thickness gives the piece its life. 

photo (51)
​Photos of the process
(scroll)