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Washrooms

Collection Series

Childhood Vitreous

 

Casey O'Connor, Childhood Vitreous (detail, children's studio washroom), 1999;  vitreous china and glaze. John Michael Kohler Arts Center Collection.

Casey O'Connor, Childhood Vitreous (detail, children's studio washroom), 1999; vitreous china and glaze. John Michael Kohler Arts Center Collection.

 

Location: Preschool

The washroom in the Children’s Studio was created by and for the children in JMKAC’s Preschool with California artist Casey O’Connor. Childhood Vitreous combines spirited painted tiles in primary colors with O’Connor’s sculptural homage to beloved children’s toys. He perfected a technique of injecting discarded stuffed toy animals with slip, or liquid clay. After drying, the stuffed toys are fired. The hardened clay retains the form and textures of the toy animal, while the stuffing and fabric burn away. O’Connor utilized this technique to make sculptures for the niches in the washroom, often joining parts of one toy with another. These sculptures evoke a flood of memories prompted by the worn nap of much-loved teddy bears and crocheted animals. The room, finished with a toddler-scale sink, has a bright blue scalloped seat toilet with hundreds of ceramic tiles glazed by children who attended the Arts Center’s unique arts-based Preschool. Self-portraits and images of family members, pets, suns, and monsters in primary colors make this a special place for children.