Methods & Materials: Clay totem poles

This week, we’re highlighting a project from Department Chair Debi Farber’s Methods & Materials class for first-semester students.

Debi Farber explains:

clay gorilla totem

Totem by Jennifer Wainstock

Clay is a versatile and organic medium, replete with history and folklore, that effortlessly documents each attempt to alter its shape. The fact that clay is three-dimensional offers the sculptor a unique opportunity to see things from multiple perspectives and manipulate and develop their environment.  It is linked with primitive emotions and therefore fosters a deeply personal experience which can elicit pleasant or displeasing visceral responses.

Totem poles are symbolic depictions of a family or clan’s kinship, accomplishments, stories, dignity, and its rights and prerogatives. They serve as a family emblem, a reminder of who they are and what they stand for.

After participating in a brief meditation, students in the Methods & Materials class created animal representations of self in character and family members in the form of clay totem poles.

clay totem

Totem by Mona Luisa Diogo

Students at work


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