NCCU senior, Brandi Lawrence-Schumacher, wants her sculpture art to represent a redirecting of her negative emotions in a more positive direction.

Student uses clay to explore and resolve emotional scars


Last semester Brandi Lawrence-Schumacher, a senior at N.C. Central University, completed several sculptures in Myong­sin Choi’s Sculpture I and Sculpture II courses.

According to Lawrence-Schumacher her sculpture focuses on the themes of rage and fury and acceptance. She wants her sculpture to represent an acceptance of her emotions and making them useful for other – less destructive — tasks.

Interdisciplinary Studies student, Brandi Lawrence-Schumacher, at work in Sculpture II class in the NCCU Fine Arts Building. Photo by Kayla Owens

“I tend to have a very quick temper and it always feels like I’m light­ing everything around me on fire until I eventually calm down,” she said. “I’ve worked really hard to take that quick anger and funnel it towards something useful.”

Here she’s working on a clay torso sculpture created with red clay. She said this about working in clay: “It reminds me of myself, moldable and easy to shape.

Mixed medium clay torso wire mesh sculpture created by Brandi Lawrence-Schumacher. Photo by Kayla Owens

Her clay torso sculpture was created by the use of coils, a technique commonly employed in sculpting with clay. The technique includes stacking them up layer by layer and smoothing them out with tools.

For the flower petals Lawrence-Schumacher used wire mesh and used plaster to cover them once she was satisfied with the shape.

She says the flower petals and leaves inside the torso represent accep­tance. The texture used in the sculpture resembles a tree as a way of seeing herself as grounded.

Once she completed the petals and let them dry she painted them. “I don’t have a ton of painting experience so I found that part the hardest. I originally had the petals a different color and the leaves just a flat green, but Mrs. Choi suggested adding more color variation,” said Lawrence-Schumacher.

Another Lawrence-Schumacher is a wire and yarn torso sculpture. This, she says, represents some difficult aspects that she put out of her childhood memories.

“The wire torso is about filling in holes in myself. So I’m working to fill the holes with something better,” she said. She said she used cool colors to symboliz­e how she feels today: mellow.

Brandi-Lawrence Schumacher at work on a self portrait sculpture. Photo by Kayla Owens

Her instructor, NCCU adjunct Myongsin Choi, was born in Seoul, South Korea. Choi has professional work done in ceramics, sculpture, and drawing. She has taught at Rutgers Universi­ty, U.N.C. Chapel Hill, and University of International Business and Economics in Beijing, China.

“Brandi has taken her pain into a healing force in her work,” said Choi. “The completion of this piece shows resilience to overcome and place her emotions into art.”

Choi herself has used her art to explore important issues about the human experience.

“My work in ceramics and sculpture and printmaking and drawing for the past 37 years has centered on macro-level themes, progression, and patterns of human life,” said Choi.

Surprising, given the quality of her work, Lawrence-Schumacher is not an art major. She is majoring in Interdisci­plinary Studies with a concentration in Race, Gender and Class.

“I’ve always liked to draw, but never thought that I would be able to take an actual art class,” she said. And now her art has become as she puts it “about accepting the fire and learning to use it for some­thing better.”

Lawrence-Schumacher has now set herself the goal of taking at least one art class a semester while at NCCU.

Story by Kayla Owens
Campus Echo Staff Reporter




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