Emily Schroeder Willis
Cone 6 stoneware, oxidation fired
Over the course of four years, I suffered four miscarriages and one failed IVF attempt. This was a dark time in my life. The deep woundedness and sense of isolation is like nothing I had ever experienced before. It was difficult explaining to people why I needed medical time-off when to the visible eye, I seemed perfectly healthy; all the while I was going through the process of miscarrying or I had recently miscarried. The hyper-sensitivity of being around people who were pregnant or were parents was also an immensely difficult feat. Anytime I mustered the courage to share my pain, people who had not suffered a similar loss would inevitably say words that sliced my fragile skin. One of the most difficult conversations was with people who would (in their own naïve way) comment what a good thing it was I had miscarried early rather than late. I can’t even begin to unpack the hurtfulness of statements such as this. My recent work addresses the pain and hurt, waiting and longing, grief and finally acceptance of these losses. This vase is part of a series to celebrate the brief life of those pregnancies and the hope that vanished.
Emily Schroeder Willis received her MFA from the University of Colorado, Boulder in 2006. She was awarded the Jerome Fellowship from the Northern Clay Center and the Sage Scholarship from the Archie Bray Foundation. She has been an artist-in-residence/visiting artist at the Archie Bray Foundation in Montana, the Zentrum für Keramik in Berlin, Germany, the Alberta College of Art and Design in Canada and Watershed Center for the Ceramics Arts in Maine. In 2012, she was a presenter at Arrowmont’s Utilitarian Clay Conference where Objective Clay, a ceramics collective she is currently part of, was formed. Currently, she lives in Chicago where she is an Lecturer at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.