Adam and I visited senior ceramics major Tara Underwood-Wright in her Hildebrandt studio today, where we had the opportunity to speak with the potter and admire her works-in-progress.
Tara hails from Nashville, Tennessee. Though she began making pots at age 15 at a local community art center, she had planned on studying Spanish when she initially came to Guilford. After her Ceramics Two course, however, she resolved to be an art major. Now she says she “can’t imagine majoring in anything else.”
She generally works in a moderate scale, makes functional ceramics, and uses an atmospheric kiln. Her work has a deliberate and honest quality. Adam and I were quite impressed with the sheer forms of the unfinished, unglazed pieces we saw, and Tara explained that she prefers a limited color palette anyways: “I like to let the forms speak for themselves and have the glazes compliment them.” She also enjoys working with wood, and she sometimes spontaneously makes small, found object sculptures from items in nature on fair-weather days.
Some of her favorite artists and major influences include Shadow May (an artist from her home state), Lorna Meaden, Elizabeth Kindle, Tara Wilson, and Guilford’s own ceramics instructor Charlie Tefft. Actually, Tara says she is sometimes astounded by how much she’s influenced by Charlie.
Tara decided to apply for the thesis experience because she wanted to grow as a potter. She wanted more time with faculty and the notoriously intense thesis critiques. She now says that though it is slightly more difficult than she expected, being a thesis candidate is giving her an idea of what it would be like to be a working artist. She is enjoying the community aspect, though, visiting other student-artists’ studios and interacting as a group. In fact, she explained that the pizza boxes in the Hildebrandt kitchen were left over from a potluck the thesis students held last night. Still, Tara would advise juniors and sophomores considering completing an art department thesis to be prepared for twenty or more hours of work a week for a four-credit class.
Post-graduation, Tara would like to travel in Latin America, but her plans are still undetermined. We wish her the best and eagerly anticipate seeing her work in the thesis exhibit this Spring.