Adorning the Walls: Student Art on Display

Kaitlin Resler
Last Friday the hallway outside Kiggins auditorium started to fill with student artwork, ranging from digital and darkroom photography, large-scale paintings and woven textiles to jewelry hung from walls and mannequins. Read on for photos of the art, a peer critique session from Intro to Jewelry, and statements from students about their pieces on display at Emma Willard School.

On September 20, students in Claudia Calabria’s Intro to Jewelry class presented their work to classmates, explaining the components used (varying from metal-based or textile in addition to organic materials) and the artistic and practical processes employed to produce their desired results. Several students found their pieces changed as they adapted to using new materials, perceived mistakes, or challenges in construction. The question of wearability was often posed, and students were invited to question typical notions of adornment through works that were delicate or fell outside the realm of everyday wear.

Anna D. '21, wears her headpiece and explains how she used a reclaimed discarded violin bow as part of her necklace, showing the mother of pearl inlay kept intact to refrence the oyster shell she created. 

Students take a closer look at the exciting closure on a classmate's Day of the Dead inspired necklace.

Sabrina A. '22 reads her artist statment to the class, detailing how she combined two of her initial ideas into one piece. 

Sabrina A. ‘22
Intro to Jewelry
Falling in Solitude

I created Falling in Solitude as a testament to independence, relationships, and the depth that lies in between. The work began in my mind as two separate pieces: first, the acorns, which were meant to symbolize human connection. Casting the acorns in resin represents protecting the heart, and the balance between caution and opening myself to new relationships. The second piece is a gold wire that represents a tree. Its meaning combines several ideas of what trees in jewelry signify, including living in the present, growth, and rebirth. It is also what I am and what I seek to become--an independent individual comfortable with both shaping and accepting the world around her. Since each piece embodies ideas I have for the new school year, I decided to combine them to show how interconnected the two are. The title of the piece, Falling in Solitude, was inspired by a rupi kaur quote: “fall / in love / with your solitude,” as well as the proverbial argument over whether or not a sound is made by a tree falling with no one to witness it. 

Varied subjects in photography and painting also line the hallway outside Kiggins auditorium. An example of work from Photo II by Julia F. ‘20 features prints of her origami creations, which are nestled in boxes on display underneath the photos. A long woven textile escapes a gilded frame (Tina Q ‘22., Weaving I), and a selection of darkroom photos hang alongside paintings from Lisa L. ‘21 (Advanced Studio Art).

Darkroom photography by Bella B. '21.

Bella B. ‘21
Darkroom Photography (two photos on display)

My friend was the subject of this photo. The photo was taken in what is often referred to as "the golden hour" and I wanted to take advantage of the natural lighting at this time of day. While capturing the photo, I took care to have the sun facing me so I could capture highly contrasting shadows that would appear on the subject and her surroundings. The combination of the angle at which the photo was taken and the sunlight allowed for the deep shadows and bright highlights visible on the subject and the grass on which she was laying.

The window captures a variety of different lines. The strong horizontal and vertical lines create a sense of uniformity and order, an ordinary window. But looking more closely, you can see the unruly branches of a tree sprawling across the reflection in the window. The unruly branches contrast with the uniform and orderly window, creating a sensation of unease.

Paintings and photography line the hallway outside the auditorium. 

Student art in Kiggins shows a unique variety of materials.

Selections from classes in Intro to Painting and Color and Design.
    • Emma L. '20 presents her resin charm and gold leaf necklace to the class.

    • Claudia Calabria prepares student work for a peer critique.

    • A necklace created with textile knots will feature a red flower once it is completed.

    • An Intro to Jewelry student displays her earrings to the class.

    • Grace R. '22 displays a Day of the Dead inspired necklace (on mannqeuin) and a minimalist brass piece.

    • Kayla S. '22 presents her hornet in resin choker.

    • Kayla S. '22 explains how she created the closure on her textile-based piece.

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