Sculptural ceramicist uses hands-on approach to explore the human experience


Easton Thompson

Undergraduate senior Angela Rangel, president of the Ceramics Guild at WSU, cleans up edges on a large sculpture piece in her studio.

Senior Angela Rangel can often be found firing up the kiln late into the night.

Rangel is a sculptural ceramacist whose work is based on human experience — both the good and the bad, she said.

“It’s about how us as humans are resilient and overcome adverse obstacles,” Rangel said.

This theme manifests in her work in interesting ways.

“A lot of the surfaces are deteriorated, weathered, and aged looking”. Rangel explained. “I will use different glazes to represent worn surfaces.”

Rangel mixes and tests her own glazes before using them. She also makes her own clay and uses the manual kiln to fire her pieces.

She uses hand building as her primary sculpting method — pinching, coiling, slab building, and using an extruder. Various printmaking techniques provide different textures in her pieces.

Rangel said she was drawn to ceramics because there’s always something new to learn.

“You will never stop learning,” Rangel said. “There are so many different things you can mess up. It forces you to always be learning”.

As president of the WSU Ceramics Guild, Rangel handles day-to-day activities and coordinates sales and the organization’s annual fundraiser — Empty Bowls. Empty Bowls, held in collaboration with the Ullrich Museum of Art and the Kansas Food Bank every fall, is an effort to combat hunger in the community.

Money raised from Empty Bowls is donated to the Kansas Food Bank. Last year, the event raised more than $50,000.

Rangel said she hopes to hold a solo show for her senior project in late April or early May, along with showing a few pieces in a group exhibition.

After she graduates in May, Rangel will be spending her summer at Northern Clay Center in Minneapolis, where she will teach children’s clay camps.