Ever since moving into Anderson Center for the Arts at Hartwick College in 1973, I’ve had the goal of building a ceramic mural outside the ceramic and glass studio. The niche incorporated into the first floor corridor wall for this purpose measures about 8.5 feet high by 25 feet wide. To work with and reveal the earthy and tactile qualities of clay, my design has been inspired by rock outcroppings on the Hartwick College campus near the Johnstone (Miller) Science Center, from rocky areas in upstate New York, and even an image of a moonscape. I have used clay and cast, cut glass to make my vision of the rocky outcroppings and sky, so common to this state, a tangible memory and a persuasive metaphor for the material I’ve used educationally for many years. This metaphor enfolds and encompasses the majesty of our surroundings. I look forward to sharing my vision of how ceramic and glass art may speak to you and to everyone in different ways by means of this mural project.
Work was begun in July 2005 with over 100 slip tests run to determine colors to use. In August the 30’wood easel was constructed. From September through December over 2 1/2 tons of clay were sculpted by hand and with garden tools. In January 2006 the process of cutting the sculpted clay into irregular pieces and hollowing out the back of each was begun. This was completed by August 2006. After the segments were hollowed out they were re-fitted into place to compensate for distortions occurring during handling. This realignment of all the parts was finished during December 2006. During the spring of 2007 the mural was air-dried, bisque fired, then high-fired in a C/10 reducing atmosphere. After installation in Anderson during the summer and fall of 2007, it was officially unveiled October 20, 2007. The project was funded in part by a faculty research grant. In addition, others including former students, student and community volunteers and friends contributed time, money and product to enable me to make my vision a reality.