Master's Theses



Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)


Water is life. That which nurtures, sustains and nourishes. My mother is truly my water. The one who gave me life and has supported and nurtured me though and through. While wading through the challenges and adversity of graduate school, she has been there every step of the way; and while I struggled to find what I was trying to say, I was quietly toiling over thoughts of my own fertility, maternal instincts and desire to nurture something and I began to acknowledge the mortality of my own mother.

The materials and images I combine are deeply connected to my mother. I’m driven by process based mediums such as printmaking and metal casting. This exhibition honors traditional approaches in both areas but finds a playful marriage somewhere in between within my mixed media work. Cast iron, bronze, traditional and contemporary approaches to printed media, and an incredibly self indulgent combination of natural and synthetic fabrics come together into creative portals and plantlike forms. I create work to excite the senses with a seductive sort of mystery, a cheeky sense of humor and an extremely playful burst of colors and texture. My materials and technical skills in this body of work are the result of collaborating directly with my parents, in their shop where I also spent my formative years. My mother has owned her upholstery business for over 40 years and over time has imparted unique technical skills and tools of the trade onto me; without which this body of work never would have come to fruition. The art and design of the automotive industry has also had a direct influence on my mixed media work. I'm inspired by hot metallic colors and reflective forms of classic cars and hot rods.

Although Industrial art and design may heavily influence my curation of materials and funky fabrics, nature and the cycles of life are what invigorate my concepts and pattern work. My work is inherently feminine as I embrace the earth, mother goddess, as a creator and giver of life, and inspiration. Characters, figures, and forms are meant to represent fertility and life cycles.

Like a lotus flower emerging out of the mud to blossom at the surface, this exhibition was an intentional manifestation of joy and playfulness. It all grew out of shared trauma, challenges and adversity. My intentional manifestation begins in a joyous maker’s space, surrounded by plants and all of my favorite tools, colors and materials. Both my process and practice is based on repetition. I wanted my thesis exhibition to be my big creative orgasm, the ultimate self pleasuring moment. Through exploiting materials and colors in an extremely seductive, sexy and fun way. As the viewer sees light and even themselves literally reflected in this work, I mean to excite the notion of self-reflection and even a manifestation of another world, another version of what we believe is reality. I’ve manifested something fantastical, playful and created new interactive spaces and objects which change with each viewer, their own movements and how the changing light of day interacts with my mixed media works.


Amy Schmierbach

Date of Award

Spring 2022

Document Type



© 2022 Crystal J Hammerschmidt


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