Duration: january-april 2018
Sydney is our current artist-in-residence at New Harmony Clay Project. During her time in New Harmony, she will continue to build upon her current artistic research using the relationship between objects and their shadows to celebrate themes of abstraction and decoration. She references objects that she encounters through her life, using the sculptures and the shadows as a suggestion that hints to something recognizable. Her goal is to produce a new body of work that continues to utilize material as a celebration of gratuity and abstraction of the void.
How many years have you been working as a clay artist? I started working with clay early on in undergrad at Augusta University, I believe around 2010. While I did not necessarily consider myself artist status at that age, I was smitten working in the ceramic studio. After graduating, I worked as an apprentice at a local studio in Augusta called Tire City Potters for about a year until I was nudged into applying for grad school. I owe much of my success to some pretty incredible mentors I encountered in undergrad, Tire City, and grad school that shaped me and fueled my practice over the last 7 years.
What is your main clay body that you currently use? I typically stick with stoneware. I like the range it provides for different methods of building. I like to try different clay bodies though, so I tend to bounce around a lot.
What is the primary method you use for building your work? I would say primarily coiling and pinching. I enjoy throwing, but hand building for me creates a sort of crude texture that brings out silly playful forms.
What is your favorite studio tool? I love a good thin brush. I use my shammy a lot, and I actually love drawing into green clay with a pen or pencil when it’s at that perfect leather hard state. It is so satisfying, like carving on butter! When I do throw, a small sharp carving tool is my favorite because I love to trim the bottoms.
Do you have any future clay wishes or dreams? What I imagine any artist hopes and dreams about: to be able to continue making work and nurturing my practice! I would wish for my future to be filled with opportunities to grow as an educator, participate in residency programs, have a platform to exhibit and create, and engage with different communities and artists around the world. Oh, and for laughter; I hope my future is filled with lots of laughter. Maybe take part in an artist residency program on the Moon someday. A girl can dream, right?
The relationship between an object and the shadow it casts is rich with metaphorical significance to memory and identity. As we move through the world, every new moment is registered as a fresh image in our mind. Viewing and experiencing something in real time provides clarity. Time tends to distort that image. Details are lost the further away you are from any particular moment and your memory recollects a vague place holder of a once crisp image. The shadow serves as a vague silhouette of any object that represents the generalized idea of the form. The details that are lost in the shadow relate to the details we lose as time moves on. I am interested in the relationship between object and shadow because they represent the same thing expressed through two very different identities. My current work uses this relationship to celebrate themes of abstraction, repetition, and decoration which orbit around the subject of identity and iteration. My practice involves several different veins of materials and processes. I reference objects that I encounter through my life, but I want to use the sculptures and the shadows as a suggestion that hints to something recognizable. I am interested in what we can learn about the objects identity in relation to our own by using the shadow to echo and expand the identity of the original artifact.
BORN: aTLANTA, gEORGIA
Atlanta native Sydney Ewerth received her BFA with a concentration in sculpture and ceramics from Augusta University in Augusta, Georgia and more recently graduated with her MFA from The University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. After graduation she remained at The University of Alabama as a Part-Time Instructor until moving to Indiana to start the residency program at New Harmony Clay Project.