I create objects as a safe space in which to reflect upon my experiences within a rural Nebraskan community, the traditions embedded in my upbringing, and the comfort (and discomfort) I find in those traditions. I build semi-fictional vignettes to process and poke fun at my childhood ideas of gender, class, and modesty. In these ceramic universes, I have the ability to embody and interact with the people, places, and narratives linked to my identity. In depicting and documenting these scenes I ask myself a series of questions: Who or what affects my perceptions of myself? Can I enact personal growth without disrupting my sense of family and self? Does my past dictate my future? These thoughts and concerns are recorded as dimensional snapshots in time through the permanent medium of clay.
Grace Orwen is a ceramic artist pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Her work is a meditation on her experiences in rural communities in southeast Nebraska. She works as the Art Director of the university’s student newspaper, The Daily Nebraskan, and completed a ceramics education internship at the Lux Center for the Arts in 2019. She has been recognized multiple times in the Eisentrager-Howard Gallery’s Annual Juried Undergraduate Exhibition, as well as in the Small Favors show hosted by The Clay Studio of Philadelphia in 2021.