Make The Connection

September 13, 2022 | By Cole Hatcher

Caroline Parker ’23 models the ceramic clay and jump ring dress she created to showcase during the 2022 Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft (KMAC) Couture Show. Parker created it in Ohio Wesleyan’s ceramic studio. (Photo by Clay Cook)

Wearable Art

Ohio Wesleyan Student Uses Ceramic Clay to Create Couture Clothing

Name: Caroline Parker ’23
Hometown: Louisville, Kentucky
Majors: Psychology and Studio Art
OWU Connection Experience: Designed, created, and modeled a wearable art dress for the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft (KMAC) Couture Show

For four months, Parker worked in OWU’s ceramics studio to create a one-of-a-kind dress to wear on the runway during the KMAC’s latest couture fundraiser.

According to The (Louisville) Courier-Journal: The spring 2022 “KMAC Couture X” show featured “emerging and established artists, costumers, designers, and milliners from across the United States in an extraordinary presentation of original couture pieces of wearable art and conceptual fashion designs.” The annual show dates back to 2013 and benefits the museum’s exhibitions, education, and outreach programs.

How I Got Involved

“I have been doing art for as long as I can remember. I got into creating wearable art specifically during my sophomore year of high school. ... I hope one day I can also be a mentor for younger new artists participating in KMAC Couture.”

My 2022 Creation

“The dress’s name is ‘Argillaceous Coverings.’ It’s made entirely of ceramic clay and jump rings. I really just wanted to make a dress out of something that didn’t seem possible.

“Ceramic clay is breakable, heavy, and stiff. Fabric, which most clothes are made out of, is durable, light, and flexible – so basically the opposite of ceramic.

“I wanted to do something unbelievable, something that didn’t fully make sense, something challenging. I made it over four months. The hardest part was definitely making all 300 little ceramic circles.”

Bishop Backing

“OWU helped me a lot! The Career Connection office gave me a grant that covered expenses. I got a lot of assistance and support from the chair of the Fine Arts Department, professor Kristina Bogdanov. She gave me tips, helped with finishing the project, and overall a lot of support. The dress was also entirely created in OWU’s ceramic studio.

“My artist support was Emmanuella Akomeah-Sirleaf ’22. ... She went to the show with me in Louisville and basically helped me with everything like transporting the dress, getting in and out of the dress, pictures, and overall just assisting with everything the day of the show.”

Finding My Artistic Calling

“OWU has helped me in so many ways. Specifically, I always knew I loved art but I didn’t know what art mediums would be my passion. OWU helped me find my specific calling in art by providing me with the opportunity to use all different mediums.

“At OWU, I’ve done wheel throwing, iron pouring, live figure drawing, and so much more. I have found my calling is in ceramics and sculpture.”

Why I Chose Ohio Wesleyan

“I chose to go to OWU because I wanted to go to a small liberal arts college. I also loved the town of Delaware. I like that it was possible for me to major in two different subjects since I had two passions, art and psychology.

My Plans After Graduation

“I would like to find ways to help people through art. Eventually, I would like to go to grad school for art therapy.”