Chelsea Dolan is an art educator and artist living in Indianapolis, Indiana. Born and raised in Illinois, she earned her BA in 2013 and MA in 2018 both in art education from Eastern Illinois University. Working for the last nine years in Title 1 elementary schools, Chelsea encourages her students’ creativity by making real world connections, using technology, and combining traditional art making mediums with the new. She strives to provide her students with the skills necessary to be lifelong art advocates and teaches them how to share their own ideas and experiences through various media. Using sketchbooks as one form of a blank canvas, her students learn to experiment, practice, make mistakes, plan, and reflect.
Chelsea concentrated in ceramics during her time as an undergraduate and continues her practice using the wheel and hand building techniques. She explores how contrasting surfaces influence the way glazes react on functional pieces like bowls, plates, planters and cups. Experimenting with crackle, matte, fluid, or metallic glazes adds an unexpected element that interests buyers. She also works in watercolors, mixed media, polymer clay, and fibers to create vibrant pieces for the home or to wear. Inspired by color theory and interior design, she creates collections that can be mixed and matched with contemporary or traditional designs. Her goal is to sell her art in shops where they can be viewed in different surroundings.
“During sophomore year at college, my ceramics instructor reintroduced me to clay. As we began to throw on the wheel, the nostalgia I felt transported me back to clay camp I attended as a child. Forming a handful of mud into something so fragile yet durable, inspired me to investigate its endless possibilities. I was further enticed by the fact I could use this new item for a practical purpose. Now, I find fascination in the unexpected outcomes that the glazing process provides. By combining vibrant hues with neutrals and overlapping slightly where the two meet, I create a new surface every time. I anxiously anticipate for the kiln to finish cooling so I can open the top to see what reaction occurred. The possible outcomes are infinite with just two different colors; mixing a crackle glaze with one that slightly runs or adding glass fragments on top of a jewel toned turquoise. The magic is not knowing exactly how it will turn out. Each piece is truly unique and with minimal records kept, I am always eager for the next batch to cool.”