Artist makes “simple” contribution to Costa Rica trip

Senior art major Amanda Gaumer is preparing for an art show. All proceeds from the show are going to this year’s service learning trip to Costa Rica.

Gaumer specializes in functional pottery but also does more decorative pieces.

“I have a ceramic cowboy boot,” Gaumer said. “That’s one of the pieces in the show.”

The boot fits with Gaumer’s usual themes, though it’s atypical. An Arizona native, her pieces have Southwestern influence. Earth tones and Native American inspiration are common.

Gaumer's pieces never have more than three colors on them. Simplicity is key. (Photo courtesy of Amanda Gaumer)

“That really shows throughout all my work. That’s something that I’m known for,” she said.

During high school, Gaumer took ceramics classes all four years. However, she didn’t really explore other art forms until college.

“The transition from just pottery to other types of media was really rough,” Gaumer said.

Gaumer said that her attraction to pottery and three-dimensional art comes from a structured and organized personality. Each step in the process is vital to the quality of the final product.

“If you can’t master the first step, it’s going to screw up the next step and the step after that,” she said.

She said she finds the work relaxing. She enjoys both the “instant gratification” of being able to make a pot in five minutes but also likes the longer construction pieces. Her cowboy boot took two months.

Her show “Sophisticated Simplicity” features a number of pieces. All of them share a common theme of simple construction and basic colors.

“There’s three colors at the max that I put on my pieces,” she said. “I like things clean. I like that look.”

She cites professors Barb Drennan and Claire Murray-Adams as big influences. She says Drennan and Murray-Adams give her that “personal connection” and “know her style.”

“I adore them. They push me to keep doing my stuff and give me encouragement,” Gaumer said.

Gaumer works on a piece. She also works with fibers on occasion. (Photo courtesy of Amanda Gaumer)

With a minor in psychology, Gaumer had considered art therapy. She has an internship at the Massillon Museum and is enjoying trying that kind of work out.

In Costa Rica, Gaumer and others with be helping and organization to clean up beaches. In addition to fun activities including climbing a volcano and zip lining, the group has a goal of experiencing culture.

“I’d love to help any way that I can, so that’s exciting,” she said.

This is her first time out of the country.

Her interests outside of art center on spending time with her family. She finds that difficult with school and work though.

“My life is kind of wrapped up in the arts right now,” Gaumer said.

The show is at the Mola Gallery on 4th Street NW during First Friday on Feb. 3.

Nick Skiles is arts & entertainment editor for The Aviso AVW

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