For this weeks artist conversation, I got the chance to talk to Brittany Waters, a 4th year student at CSULB who is currently working towards her BFA in ceramics. Waters found her passion in ceramics during her time in high school where she spent most of her time working with her hands and sculpting. She had decided to pursue ceramics as a career at the age of 19 when she realized that painting was not something she wanted to do for the rest of her life because of the process; instead she enjoyed the process and messiness of ceramics itself. After deciding her passion, she wanted her work to focus on nature such as lakes and forests because she was raised in that area in Northern California and wanted to showcase the beauty of it in Southern California. After she graduates CSULB, Waters hopes to achieve her masters in ceramics and stay in the west coast, possibly Oregon, because she feels there is a greater ceramic dynamic in the west.
Her exhibit brought to light the endangerment of sea turtles and other creatures that live among our beaches. She wanted to focus on sea turtles as her senior project because she found inspiration through her trip to Hawaii. In Hawaii, she saw the natural beauty of the beaches and creatures and when she came back to Long Beach, she noticed that the beaches were destroyed by humans. In her mind, the beaches have become commercialized with bonfire pits and destroyed by all the trash; therefore, no animal could live there. However, while doing research on her project, Waters was able to find out that the only place that still has sea turtles is the San Gabriel River but they are slowly becoming endangered species.
In her exhibit Waters was able to make 118 baby turtles by hand, each taking about 2-3 hours to make each, with low fire white clay called Steve’s White. When you first walk into the exhibit, you will notice that there are pictures of the turtles up close and personal, making you think that she saw them at the beach. However if you were to look at the opposite wall the making process of each turtle was revealed, shocking the viewers. Waters purposely set up the pictures this way in order to trick the viewers into thinking that the turtles were actually real in order to bring some amusement. As you walk deeper into the exhibit, there are a bunch of baby turtles placed in a scene that looks like a beach “crawling” into the ocean. The projected ocean on the wall is supposed to represent the barriers and struggles that baby turtles must face in order to survive, and that varies from predators to pollution.
Overall, I feel that Brittany Water’s senior project was a complete success. The little details on the turtles were amazing and to use this project to bring awareness about endangered species and our beaches was a big hit.