Eleanor Heimbaugh

Artist Statement

My creative process evolves in revolutions often revisiting familiar ideas or processes but with a new understanding and appreciation for them. I have always been curious about the environments around me and since childhood on explored my surroundings through extensive bike rides, hiking adventures, and inquiry leading to discovery. My current work uses the hand building techniques of coiling, slab construction, hand sculpting, and press molding. Technical challenges included finding a clay body that steel could be directly fired into and selecting a display device most appropriate for artifact and specimen display. A low fire white paper clay body terra blanc was developed for this body of work and enabled steel objects to be fired directly into the clay. I’ve also done extensive research on a variety of display methods in order to select the best method of display for each piece. When exploring museums of any kind I find myself lost in thought, imagining the world that these artifacts, specimens, or fossils existed in and curious of the authenticity of interpretation through categorizing collections. My current ceramic work is a pseudoscientific investigation of artifacts, specimens, and fossils, of 21st century American culture. I am considering how these archeological discoveries if found may be interpreted or valued in the future, and what histories or narratives they may tell.

-- Eleanor Heimbaugh


Artist and educator Eleanor Heimbaugh is a native Kansan who grew up among a family of engineers, teachers, and makers with a constant desire to create. Heimbaugh is curious about the environments around her and since childhood explored her surroundings through extensive bike rides, hiking adventures, and inquiry leading to discovery.

She loves to explore abandoned buildings and trash piles, discovering discarded and aged remnants. While out on walks and everyday commutes Heimbaugh photographically documents modern day remnants, such as a bottle cap in the grass or a piece of smashed gum on the sidewalk. Her love of fossil hunting was nurtured by a geology club in 4-H and years of digging around gravel roads and fields to find Cretaceous marine fossils from the pre-historic ocean that once covered Kansas.

Heimbaugh presents research at conferences and is juried into regional, national, and international exhibitions. She earned a BFA in studio at Washburn University in Topeka, KS and an MFA with an emphasis in Ceramics from Fort Hays State University in Hays, KS. Heimbaugh is currently teaching at Bethany College in Lindsborg, KS as an Assistant Professor of Ceramics and Sculpture.