Memory can be a delicate thing, and sometimes what you think you remember can be completely different from real events. Sam Loeffler, an arts major, explores memory and PTSD during his final semester as a pottery student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Loeffler tells the Daily Nebraskan how they find inspiration, where their artistic journey has taken them so far, and where they hope to go.
Daily Nebraskan: How long have you been making pottery?
Sam Loeffler: I have been making pottery for about nine years now. I started in high school and then continued to college. The first time I used clay, I was in eighth grade, and we were told to make our favorite candy bar, and I made a Caramello. I was so proud of it. I haven’t seen it with my current eyes – and I’m sure it doesn’t look like what I remember – but at the time I thought it looked exactly like a Caramello. I was so proud of myself and loved doing this mission.
DN: Why pottery? What appeals to you about pottery?
SL: I think I’ve always felt connected to this, but now that I’m starting to learn more about why I make art – my art is a lot about memory and post-traumatic stress disorder – I think l clay remembers the touch. the same way the body does. So I think the clay is a really important aspect of my work this way.
DN: What type of pottery do you specialize in, if any?
SL: I do ceramic sculpture and much of it is non-figurative. It represents memory ideas and memory questions. I study memory because I also have a minor in psychiatry, and have learned that a lot of our memories are not really accurate, but a lot of our identity comes from what we remember about ourselves. and what we remember and what we remember. has passed. I therefore explore these questions in my work.
DN: Where do you find your inspiration?
SL: Most of my inspiration comes from my past experiences and the things I learned in my psychology classes. But also, I think a lot of people have this idea that inspiration comes from us, and it’s natural. I think it’s a practice, and I try to practice creativity every day. I do different exercises and all because sometimes it just comes to you, but most of the time when you’re creating you have to practice creativity. I have this book called “Steal Like an Artist Handbook” which gives me creative little exercises to do every day and reminds me to challenge myself that way.
DN: How has your profession changed throughout college?
SL: It has changed a lot. I used to just want to make nice pots, nice little teacups, and nice teapots, and now I’m making these crazy sculptures that I never thought I would. It’s funny because a lot of my stuff is partially broken or falling apart, and if I had looked at it in my freshman year, I would have hated it. I would have said, “I worked so hard to learn how to do this, and it sounds silly.” Of course, that has changed a lot.
DN: What do you like about your job?
SL: Probably the physicality of it. In a few recent sculptures that I made, I was really practicing being more present in the making process and really thinking about what I was doing as I was touching my clay. And I think I know these pieces more intimately than I have known the previous pieces. Instead of trying to build as fast as possible to do so, I really slowed down and focused on actively crafting the part.
DN: Do you plan to do anything with pottery in the future?
SL: At first, I wanted to do art therapy. But I really like working in the studio and sharing my work that way. So I probably want to continue with the studio work. Because this is my last semester, my plan is to apply for post-baccalaureate, artist residencies, and possibly graduate school, but I think it’s best to work alone a bit before that.