Electronic Theses and Dissertations


Liminal Space

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

M.F.A. in Art

First Advisor

Matt Long

Second Advisor

Lou Haney

Third Advisor

Katherine Fields


Liminal Space is an installation that records time between my son's removal from my life and present day. These pieces are the manifestation of hope and loss; they tell the story of my experience of motherhood. They track time through the repetition of form and have become a physical expression of the days that have elapsed in my life since I last saw my son. Liminal space is defined as the space in-between a boundary or a threshold. In this work, I pose the questions: Can liminal space be crossed? How large can this space become? In anthropology, liminality is often considered a rite of passage or a middle ground between two events. I am infinitely stuck in a state of liminality because of my son's absence in my life; I cannot cross the threshold to see him. I am investigating time through multiple slip castings in clay. The repetition and use of clay as a material allows me to physically mark my memory in space. I am using children's toy trains as a symbol for this memory in order to provide a direct connection between childhood and adulthood, child and parent, as well as the past and the present. The use of clay is rooted in my background as a potter. I came into graduate school expecting and anticipating to be exploring pottery, however, as I progressed through the program, I found that using pots as vehicle for my evolving narrative was not working. The experiences of loss in my life became so overwhelming that I needed a therapeutic way to digest them. At first, making tiny plates that I could throw quickly and repetitively became a release for me. After processing those forms as wall pieces, I felt the need for the object itself to become the vehicle. This change led me to installation, which has opened up a more direct avenue for expressing my ideas. Ultimately, these choices have produced this thesis as the most honest and paired down version of itself. It is a materialization of the liminal space that continues to expand in my life.



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