September 2, 2015

Deaf Artist and RSD Students Create a Unique Tiled Bench

Deaf professional artist Ellen Mansfield, a special guest this past spring of the 2015 Rochester School for the Deaf Artist in-Residence Program, together with the RSD student body, created a unique – one-of-a-kind tiled garden bench.

Students under the direction of Mrs. Mansfield and RSD Art Teacher Mr. David Prusinski molded each tile by hand. Designs for the molds were created by Mrs. Mansfield’s original artworks. Handshapes in the tiles call-out Mrs. Mansfield’s passionate pursuit of De’VIA (Deaf View Image Art), a form of art by Deaf artists that expresses their Deaf experience through visual art.

Great care was given to measure and shape all of the curved tiles needed to cover sections of the bench. Molded tiles were then fired in a large kiln in the RSD Industrial Arts Shop. When the tiles cooled, Mrs. Mansfield guided students in the art of tile glazing, which adds color to them. After students applied different color glazes, the tiles were fired for a second time in the kiln. This results in the glaze becoming smooth, shiny and richly colorful.

During summer school Mrs. Mansfield and Mr. Prusinski returned to finish applying the tiles to the bench with a strong adhesive and tile grout.

While the bench is intended to be in a garden outdoors, it will remain inside Westervelt Hall at RSD where students and staff can enjoy it year-round, as it resides among the many other artworks created by Deaf artists and RSD students over the years.



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