2020 Grad Show

Lael Chmelyk

Ceramics

laelchmelyk.com

I am a artist working primarily with ceramics and quilting. I create functional pots with contrasting surfaces that create tension. Areas of quiet and overwhelm invite touch and in turn offer the user a moment of pause and intimate investigation. The white base layer points to the backgrounds of scientific illustration, where I re-contextualize specimens from their histories and environments. Referencing taxonomy, I look to understand my place in the world’s classifications and rhythms.
I negotiate the idea of my body as a vessel through the long maternal history of quilting. My work communicates ideas of familial expectation placed on my body, and my decision to choose the fecundity of my mind instead of my body. Through traditional quilting methods I create tender quilts that break free from pattern. My impulse to not have children and carry the family line, is reflected in pattern that is broken and reimagined. Using the topographical map of my childhood home, I layer memory and future expectations to understand where they diverge and converge. The landscape of memory within the quilt is a further nod to the ability of quilts to wrap the body in comfort, and in doing so it reimagines the body as landscape. What happens when we envelop a child free woman in a symbol of maternal tradition? Quilting methods and techniques are passed down through maternal lines much like the intimate acts of mothering. I explore the changing boundaries of womanhood and redefine myself in my own narrative of quiet rebellion.

Botanical Juice Set

This botanical pitcher and cup set was fired in a soda atmosphere. It features botanical illustrations taken from scientific illustrations and re-contextualizes these specimens from their histories and environments. Referencing taxonomy, I look to understand my place in the world’s classifications and rhythms.

Soda Fired Pitchers

These pitchers are a part of a series of works fired in soda and wood kilns. I am interested in the role of the atmospheric firing's capacity to collaborate with the maker, in a sharing of agency. Allowing the kiln to act in the creation of the surface, allows for play and chance in the work, making the work itself a conversation between maker and process.

Botanical Plate Collection

This series of plates invites touch with their rounded bottoms. The form becomes a vessel for food but also for decoration, and contrasts a beautiful glazed surface with a smooth raw base. The stark white slip that envelopes the form acts as the sterile background of scientific illustrations on which botanicals are carved. The plates serve to re-contextualize the plants and induce thought as to our place within and outside of the systems we create to bring order to our world.

Pattern As Structure Quilt

This work is an exploration of how pattern and structure are inherently linked. In the case of the quilting stitches, the build of the quilt becomes a part of its own ornament, and the pattern it creates is only brought to life with its relationship to the patchwork.

Wood and Soda Collection

This series of cups explored the role of soda and wood firing as an active participant in the making of functional pots. I am interested in the agency that the kilns uncontrollable decoration adds to the layered surface, and how the controlled aspects of the maker are interrupted with chance.

Otherhood Quilt

This work negotiates the idea of my body as a vessel through the long maternal history of quilting. It explored ideas of familial expectation placed on my body, and my decision to choose the fecundity of my mind instead of my body. Through traditional quilting methods I create tender quilts that break free from pattern. My impulse to not have children and carry the family line, is reflected in pattern that is broken and re-examined. Using the topographical map of my childhood home, I layer memory and future expectations to understand where they diverge and converge. The landscape of memory within the quilt is a further nod to the ability of quilts to wrap the body in comfort, and in doing so it re imagines the body as landscape.

Biologic Dissonance

I navigate my definition of womanhood though ceramic vessels in relation to my body as a container. I use scientific drawings with patterns and gentle colours to attempt to understand myself and the world around me through a lens of classification and taxonomy. My surfaces communicate ideas of societal expectation that I experience in relation to my body, and the internal struggle to accept a body that is not able to fulfill those same expectations.