Psyche Inspired: Leila Mirza

Institution: Barnard College of Columbia University

Major: Undeclared

Psyche Inspired Class: 2023-2024

Core Value

Leila Mirza

November 29th, 2023

Major: Undeclared

Genre/Medium: Ceramics/Stoneware clay

About the work: Ceramic art is inherently experimental—you never know what will emerge from the kiln. Embracing the risk, I worked with clay types and glazes that were new to me. In doing so, I sought a connection to the explorative, uncertain nature of the Psyche mission. Studying celestial bodies like 16 Psyche, the building blocks of our solar system, is incredibly exciting because of what we might learn about the cosmos and our place in it. After researching the mission and the metal-rich 16 Psyche asteroid, I was incredibly drawn to the anticipated, but not yet confirmed, chemical makeup of its core. My asteroid vessel was thrown with a gritty, black stoneware clay. Metallic glaze bursts from the core in the hope that we will strike gold.

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Butterfly Effect

Leila Mirza

January 25th, 2024

Major: Undeclared

Genre/Medium: Stoneware clay and acrylic paint

About the work: While I generally stick to throwing pieces on the wheel, I decided to step out of my comfort zone and try hand-building in order to capture the raw, crude, and imperfect nature of a celestial body. Based on simulated photos of the asteroid, I recreated the distinct crater-battered surface. Then, I sculpted small butterflies and painted them in the vibrant Mission to Psyche colorway. I left the asteroid unglazed to create a deeper contrast between the surface and the shapes that it supports.

While butterflies are a symbol of the goddess Psyche, they also represent change and transformation. I painted the butterflies in the mission colors to symbolize our presence and metaphorical touchdown on the asteroid.

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Psyche Inspired

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Psyche Inspired