Maddie Gerig, a junior art major, received a business grant from Goshen College last fall. Since then, she has been busy using the funds to build up her ceramics and sculpture business. Gerig’s newest project is a pop-up camper renovation. Inspired by the tiny house trend, Gerig is working to transform her childhood pop-up camper into a “mobile microstudio that can also function as a gallery space.”
She said, “I love the idea of everything you need being in a tiny, accessible space.”
Gerig plans to take this pop-up camper with her when she graduates from Goshen next year.
“I’m starting to think about what I’m going to do after college in terms of space,” she said.
“I want to be a self-sustaining artist and that means being creative,” she said.
Gerig does not have written plans for her reconstruction of the camper, but she has started to gather materials. The camper will hold clay, tools, and a workspace.
“I’m going to build shelving and a desk and storage space, with a sink in there,” she said.
She also plans to replace the canvas siding with plexiglass windows to give the camper as much light as possible, so it will be like a glass box.
One obstacle that Gerig has faced so far is that the kiln she purchased with the business grant funding is too heavy for the camper. She plans to purchase a welder as well. As she envisions herself travelling, Gerig plans to keep her kiln and welder in a garage or other storage space.
Another obstacle has been thinking about temperature. While Gerig plans to have a space heater in the camper, she knows she will need more heat in the winter.
“It really will be for the warmer months,” she said, “because there’s no way I can winterize a popup camper.”
In addition to working on the camper, Gerig has continued to find inspiration for her ceramics and sculpture projects. She recently returned from the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts conference in Kansas City, Missouri. At the conference, Gerig acquired a clay recipe which she is excited about.
In all of her work, Gerig focuses her art on empowerment.
“I make 3D art that I find empowering,” she said, “and I’m always looking for ways to empower other people with my art, which is why I put feminist and womanist decals on my pots.”
She added, “I consider my sculptural pieces symbolic of the human form, especially the woman’s form, which is often used as purely an object in art. I want to transform that.”