“Living on the Edge”: Ceramics and the Environment in the American West, 1961-2000


Luce/ACLS Dissertation Fellowships in American Art


History of Art and Architecture


The history of traditional craft media remains an unwritten chapter of the environmental art movement. This is a serious omission, as the materiality of craft necessitates a direct connection to the land, and its processes utilize unprocessed, natural materials. This project investigates three ceramists who negotiated relationships with the land in the US West and the complicated politics of appropriating indigenous traditions, processes, and designs through their objects. The connection between maker, materials, and land spurred a politically radical approach to art production. It challenged the division between art and life and fostered a desire for socially aware, ethical forms of making which placed these potters at the forefront of the environmental movement.