Michelle Laxalt, from Reno, Nevada, is a Welch Fellow pursuing her MFA degree in Ceramics at the Ernest G. Welch School of Art and Design at Georgia State University in Atlanta. Her sculptures convey her interest in the objects and ideas that human have historically placed trust or faith in for protection and guardianship. Lucky charms, saints, and above all, the permeable boundary that separates luck and superstition from faith, are some of the psychical and psychic entities that provide her with inspiration and inquiry. She combines the research of these influences with a biographical reflection of the religious and superstitious rituals of her mother’s family. In doing so, she creates ambiguous and composite mixed-media figures with varying physiques that reference these sources, with the overall intent of providing viewers a contemplative and visceral experience.
Laxalt’s ceramic work has been exhibited nationally in Georgia, Nevada, California, Texas, Rhode Island, Alabama, and Pennsylvania. In March 2015 she received the National Council for the Education of the Ceramic Arts (NCECA) Third Place Graduate Award for Excellence for her piece that was exhibited in the conference’s annual National Student Juried Exhibition. Her work was recently published in the second volume of Lark Crafts 500 Figures in Clay. Laxalt received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art with an emphasis in Ceramics from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2014.