Peeler Portraits: Clay Creations



While all art is made to be looked at, the process of creating it varies in the degree of craftsmanship required. Senior Gracie White attributes her interest in clay, wood and metal to their physically ability to be morphed and molded as materials.

Having been interested in art since a young age, her high school’s art department fostered her artistic growth, and she took as many classes as she could. Despite this, Gracie hadn’t planned on majoring in art upon entering DePauw. However, by the second semester of freshman year, she had signed the declaration papers.

Since then, Gracie claims that art has taken over her life. The extensive amount of time that she spends in Peeler has made it so that her friends know Gracie’s trips to Peeler could be short, or could potentially last for over eight hours.

Jos Fox: What is your favorite medium?

Gracie White: I’m kind of all over the board depending on the medium… I can’t pick just one. My favorite mediums are clay, wood and metal. I like materials that I can build and use my hands; I just feel like I have more control and power over my work when I can constantly be touching it. I like clay because it’s something that’s super easy to manipulate. On the other hand, I like wood and metal for the exact opposite reason— it takes more force. I also like working with metal because in our society it’s not a material that women are ‘supposed’ to work with. So by working with it, I’m kinda just saying f*** you to anyone who thinks that I shouldn’t be.

JF: How have you seen your work transform over the past 3 years?

GW: My work has changed a lot not at all. I’ve taken the most ceramics classes out of any other mediums, so I think that’s where I notice the change most. When I first started taking ceramics classes I knew I wanted to work with the figure, that has not changed. Almost everything I do with clay is figurative. But I have worked on different things in each class. Early on, I was working more on the actual form and wanting to get them to look real, but once I started feeling comfortable with building a figure in general, I was able to focus more on what I am trying to say through my work and what it means to use a figure. I still have a lot to do to get my work to where I want it to be, but I see that happening through each piece I do. When it comes to wood and metal, I am still at a lower level, I would say. I am still trying to focus on getting my technique better, although I have also seen my work grow in very different ways when it comes to these mediums.

As an artist overall, I think I am finally starting to become more of an individual rather than just doing the assignments that are given to me. I have seen myself push past my assignments a bit, trying to break as many of the rules as possible.

JF: What would your dream gallery look like?

GW: Oh gosh, my dream gallery. Well, it would have to be extremely large considering most of my work is large-scale. I would want a variety of environments within it as well, some outside space, some inside space, a brick wall or something inside. I’m not really sure, but I for sure would not want it to be a traditional gallery space. I would want it to be super unique. Like when people walk in, I would want their jaw to drop and then for some of them to smile because they love it but also have some people frown and walk out because they hate it. You gotta have a good ratio of love and hate, right?