Master's Theses



Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)


The love I've experienced in life has inspired me to explore the positive, creative power of woman. I see woman as a vessel. Within she holds her love, new life, and a host of ideas, emotions and dreams. The potential of women in today's American culture fascinates me. Women face a wide variety of life-choices. For many, these new opportunities in the work-place have been accompanied by fresh dilemmas. How does one juggle family, work, spiritual, and personal responsibilities? Challenged, today's woman is pregnant with possibilities, full of new hope and new life. Yet she also has an eternal side, where she experiences feelings universal to all women through all time. She loves, bears children, protects, nurtures, works, and worships. She is at once new and ancient. She is a Seed-Sister. Swelling with an optimistic potential, full of possibilities, my Seed-Sisters nearly burst with ripeness. Their pregnancy symbolizes the woman as vessel, holding her precious gift of life and the future. The seed-like form of the vessel erupts into a softly swaying feminine shape, its voluptuousness suggestive of fertility. Often headless, these figures focus on the universal, eternal female rather than concentrate on an individual's features and personality. Nurturing, sharing, and edifying their counterparts, these sisters grow and help each other explore their possibilities while passing their knowledge from one generation to the next. By working together, the sister becomes more than she was individually, evoking the larger potential of the group. Exploring relationships, herself, and her world, the Seed-Sister discovers life, in itself, is a most precious gift to be cherished and shared. Materializing in both drawings and ceramics, the Seed-Sisters are formed of layers. Mixed media of pencil, ink, and prismacolors enhance the drawings. Hand-built from slabs of white stoneware clay, the Seed-Sister sculptures are formed layer upon layer, paddling, scraping, and stretching, in much the same manner we form our own character, building upon layers of experience, knowledge, and perception. After a tall column is formed, the figure is magically revealed with a gentle push and pull modeling of the plastic clay. The Seed-Vessel base often serves as a canvas for carving and a layering of images relating to the form. Daughters, mothers, lovers, and various other fantasy creatures revel here, giving insight into the feminine mind and spirit. A wide variety of firing techniques enrich the form's surfaces and enhance their emotional impact. My Sisters tell a story of hope and of the positive, creative power of love.


Joanne Harwick

Date of Award

Spring 1990

Document Type



© 1990 Linda Ganstrom


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