It’s three feet tall, standing strong on a wide base, a connection of bright blue molded tubes built up into a tower-like thing. At least that’s how senior Sam Emblidge describes his clay project. It’s funny to think that the smiling senior, proudly finishing up a months long project, wasn’t supposed to be here.
Freshman year, Emblidge thought he wanted to take architectural design, but after he was introduced to clay in Art Exploration he switched out and signed up for ceramics. Three years later and he knows he made the right decision. “I never really had a steady hand,” Emblidge said. “Ceramics has given me an opportunity to express how I’m feeling in an abstract way.”
What makes Emblidge’s art pieces so unique is his process. Emblidge prefers to limit his planning. “I just kind of see how it goes,” Emblidge said. “I take out these tubes and whatever shape they are in, I put it on there and try to just see how tall I can make it.”
He can never be certain how the final piece will end up. “When you’re glazing you never really know what it’s gonna look like when it comes out of the kiln,” Emblidge said. “Sometimes that’s horrible and you’re gonna have to throw away the piece, but sometimes you can make some beautiful things.”
Some might argue that working without an outline hinders one’s outcome, but no quality is sacrificed due to his organic method of sculpting, according to Emblidge’s teacher. “He’s very thoughtful and methodical about his approach to his work,” ceramics teacher, Lisa Ouse, said. “You can totally see a connection between all of the pieces he’s working on in his portfolio.”
Emblidge’s most recent piece, pictured to the right, is one of the four tube sculptures he’s done. “I’ve made a lot of these throughout my high school career,” Emblidge said. “And I’ve slowly gotten better and better each time.” Emblidge decided to make his most recent sculpture extra tall, so tall in fact hat it wouldn’t even fit in the standard kilns.
A lot has changed since Emblidge first started taking ceramics. “Freshman year he was kind of wanting to just get projects finished,” Ouse-Hicks said. “Now he has a plan in mind and it comes out in his work.”
Although Emblidge’s love for ceramics is strong, he doesn’t see himself doing it professionally. “I’m planning on taking some ceramics classes in college and maybe a minor in art history, but I don’t see a career there,” Emblidge said. “I think that ceramics just really gives me a time away from all the stresses that school provides. I go to ceramics, my head is clear, and I’m ready to take on the day.”