• Inside out: an invisible illness explored through art

      Chamberlain, Jennifer; Brashear, James; Mason, Charles; Jones, Zoe Marie; Shannon, Teresa (2018-12)
      Inside Out: A Hidden Illness Explored Through Art is a thesis Project to fulfill the requirements of an MFA degree in visual arts. This project focused on ceramics and photography inspired by the unusual combination of medical imagery and heavily textured ocean landscapes. Through this body work, a better understanding of invisible illness is revealed. During my first year as an MFA student at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, I was invited to be an apprentice to Simon Levin, a woodfire potter specializing in functional wares fired in a Japanese style Anagama Kiln. One month into my apprenticeship I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, an unpredictable and incurable autoimmune disease that disrupts the central nervous system causing progressive physical and cognitive deficits. My apprenticeship experience dramatically changed course as I began investigating and adapting to new ways of working in clay. I have had to redefine my identity as a ceramic artist as a result of this diagnosis and the impact it has had on my daily life. My interpretation of this new medical diagnosis has resulted in exciting, detailed surfaces and textures on my functional ceramics. Through this exploration, I have begun to form a connection between the textures and lines of medical imaging and my love for the subtle beauty of the ocean landscape. Exploring these subjects through their unusual and unexpected combinations has provided me with a healing and introspective experience that has greatly influenced my recent work.