My stoneware sculptures in my MFA final project were named Earth Divers because clay as a material is earth and clay is also symbolic of the Earth. The way that I physically dive into clay up to my elbows is a poetic performance. The sculptures were built in sections horizontally and then stacked vertically. I began the process by first making life size plaster molds of the human figure taken from live people. Earth Divers take their architectural structure specifically from the organic curves of the negative voids that are characteristic of the plaster figure molds. I built into these plaster molds a block or brick like section. I then removed the large block sections from the molds and stacked the sections one on top of the other combining the figurative and architectural structures with gothic influence. The sculptor, Stephen De Staebler, who works in a similar fashion, describes his work as, "... first laying the figure down and later standing it in a vertical position." The way of life that was lost with the manufacturing past of my family at Castone Brick is found in the use of industrial nostalgia by modeling I-beam shapes as part of the structure of the stacked sections. I also fired nuts, bolts, and washers of various sizes in the clay that build the surface of the human forms. The square nut seen in my work is no longer being manufactured and is symbolic of the passing of the industrial age in America. Finally, to build the surfaces of my sculptures I used slips, glazes, and a variety of clays on top of clay, and laid glass fragments on the horizontal surfaces to create a look of pooled water when my work was fired similar to what I have seen in the Lehman Caves in Baker, Nevada. "I believe there is a force in this world that lives beneath the surface, something primitive and wild that awakens when you need an extra push just to survive, like wild flowers that bloom after a fire turns the forest black. Most people are afraid of it and keep it buried deep inside themselves. But, there will always be a few people who have the courage to love what is untamed inside us." (Tim McGraw)



College and Department

Fine Arts and Communications; Visual Arts



Date Submitted


Document Type

Selected Project




earth divers, Leland F. Prince, Lee Prince, Leland Prince, Stephen De Staebler, figure, clay, stoneware, Castone, female form, sculpture, earth, industrial, architectural, manufacturing, death, life, plaster molds, physical, mortality, symbolic, MFA final project



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