Fire sculpture folds in community

Lafayette (Ind.) Journal & Courier (04.14.2016)

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Fire sculpture print PDF

Fire sculpture print PDF

Ceramic artist Nina Hole’s fire sculptures are both magnificent and rare — only about two dozen exist in the world. After Hole designed them, her team built and fired them on site, inviting the community to be involved in the entire process.

Purdue University’s Lonsford Committee commissioned one of these sculptures, which turned out to be the last Hole designed. The celebrated artist died in early 2016 and never saw her last piece, which was built in late March and early April.

Because of its prominent construction spot outdoors on campus, the fire sculpture received plenty of local media attention. So when I wrote in depth on it, I had to find a fresh, meaningful angle. That it was Hole’s last designed sculpture and was to be what one of my sources called an “avant-garde bonfire” were spectacular.

But the artist’s care for people — even after her death — and the community connections the sculpture’s construction formed proved to be both a touching and largely uncovered storyline.