, Houston, Texas
Maggie Sweeney, a senior at Trinity Episcopal School in Richmond, Virginia, was awarded the Paragon Industries Test Kiln Award for her work in the 16th Annual National K-12 Ceramic Exhibition. Based on her ceramic work, her school will receive a top-of-the-line, Digital FireFly test kiln.
Sweeney’s work titled “Decay of Life” is a raku fired, wheel thrown and carved, white stoneware vessel. The piece is part of a larger body of work that Sweeney created in Trinity’s International Baccalaureate (IB) art program. “Maggie has an instinctive understanding about clay,” said Trinity IB ceramics teacher Lee Hazelgrove. “She constantly tries to push the limit with process and her technical abilities (like the athletic competitor she is). It’s been a joy to watch her work evolve and become such a dynamic collection of vessels.”
She draws inspiration from the natural scenery of life in sculptor Carol Alleman’s work and the whimsical, abstract quality of Gustav Klimt’s work. “I love clay because there’s always something there, something more in the clay than meets the eye,” said Sweeney. “It forces me to develop as a person, to face my own limitations and exceed them. It’s always a challenge.”
Sweeney is all about pushing the limits. She plans to attend Virginia Tech in the fall where she will major in math with a possible double major or minor in studio art. “I like the fact that you never know what’s going to happen with the process, especially raku. You have to be optimistic and accepting of whatever happens, and that carries over into how you approach life.”
“Mel Jacobson and I chose Maggie Sweeney’s vase for the award,” said Arnold Howard, spokesman for Paragon. “We readily agreed that the vase was outstanding. Mel picked up the vase, ran his hand over the interior, explained how it was thrown, and was impressed.” Paragon Industries is proud to recognize Maggie and her teacher, Lee Hazelgrove.
Maggie Sweeney with her teacher, Lee Hazelgrove.
Maggie Sweeney's raku vase.
The clay center at Trinity Episcopal School in Richmond, Virginia.