Winthrop Welcomes Emily Connell, Visiting Artist Workshop

Emily Connell joins
Winthrop University’s Department of Fine Arts
to host an Artist Workshop
Topic:  Slip Cast Books
Thursday, April 18, 2013
4:00p.m. to 6:15p.m.
Art Education Room


Emily Connell Bio

Emily Connell creates her work through a variety of media, including ceramics, video, photography, and performance.  Her unique background informs her work which walks a line between two spiritual extremes. 

Connell worked on her artwork at Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Snow Mass, Colorado, and the International Ceramics Studio in Kecskemet, Hungary.  Emily Connell received her BFA degree in ceramics from the Kansas City Art Institute.  Currently, she is a Ceramics Instructional Assistant to George Timock at the Kansas City Art Institute and a 2012-2013 Charlotte Street Foundation Urban Culture Project Studio Resident in Kansas City, Missouri.

Connell’s work is published in area publications and Ceramics Monthly magazine.  She exhibits nationally, including an exhibition at the Houston Center for Contemporary Crafts.  In 2012, Connell received the Regina Brown Fellowship to research Catholic processions in Italy during the spring of 2013.


Emily Connell’s Artist Statement

“The progressive secularization of modern man has altered the content of his spiritual life, but not broken the mould of his imagination; a huge residue of mythology lingers in the zones that have escaped regimentation.”

–Mircea Eliade, Images et symbols, Paris 1952.

The mysticisms I experienced as a child at Catholic school still hold a great power over me, influencing my art. I make my work in two stages. First I create objects inspired from religion, and configure them into a scene. Next I use my body to create a context and purpose for the objects. By recording these symbolic interactions through the lens of the camera I produce photographs and video to display alongside my objects. The combination of photographs and relics create a narrative while also heightening the mystery of spiritual purpose.

Using a found vade mecum, or a book of reference (encyclopedia, Bible, dictionary), I cover it, page-by-page, in slip. Firing the book in a kiln transforms it into a reliquary shell, containing the ashes of the book within. Ensuring stability for the delicate book I encase it with chalky plaster. I then use a masonry-saw to cut the piece, revealing the cross-section of the ceramic pages.index

These objects become a part of my pseudo-ritual interaction that I perform and document. The use of my body blurs the separation of roles in religious practice, from the sacred leader and practitioner/parishioner, all the way to that of the cynic.



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