An artist inspired by history incorporates
archival resources into her work
On view at Alkek Library 580, 5th Floor, June 23 - August 31, 2015
We Wanted to Wake Up New, By Elizabeth Davis, 2015
Stoneware, Slip, Screen printing, Soda-fired
Elizabeth Davis is currently a Studio Art Major in the Ceramics Program at Texas State’s School of Art & Design. Originally from Corpus Christi, Texas, she has also lived and studied in Budapest, Hungary, New York City, and Eugene and Portland, Oregon. The exhibited work, We Wanted to Wake Up New, is part of her portfolio to gain admission to a MFA Program in Ceramics. It combines her interests in History, Storytelling, and her three favorite mediums: writing, ceramics, and printmaking.
We Wanted to Wake Up New began as favor to a friend to make an inkwell for Civil War Reenactments. The inkwell shape quickly took on greater meaning as I imagined each one as a vessel containing a soldier’s desire to reflect, record, and communicate. I wondered how they might view our wars today. I wanted to talk to one of them.
The words screen printed on the bottom of the inkwells come from the letters of Private William (Burkhart), dated 1862. He writes from Headquarters in Velasco, TX and Camp Lubbock, TX to Celia Schrock in Waterville, TX.
The project took about 100 hours over the course of a semester. The main steps involved were the creation of the inkwells on the potter’s wheel, tracking down the original letter, creating a digital file from the letters to make screen printed decals, transferring the decals to the inkwells, and the two step firing process.
While I deliberately chose a range of legibility in the text, here are transcripts of the three excerpts used:
“Let others love the tented and battle field, and waste their time and destroy their constitutions in the race after face, but as for me let my life be one of peace, in the society of friends and relations.”
“We have finally reached the point, which is beyond my descriptive powers, in its horror. Nature made it sufficiently attractive, but man in his vileness, has so entirely transformed the scene, that my spirits become dejected, my arm palsied, and melancholy takes general possession of me, when I contemplate its full reality.”