WVCSD Artist of the Week: Emily Sorrell


WVCSD Artist of the Week: Emily Sorrell

November 15, 2023

WVHS artist Emily Sorrell first had art teacher Nicole Sisco in middle school. This is Emily’s senior year at the high school, and Ms. Sisco’s first year teaching there. Ms. Sisco was delighted to reunite with Emily, especially because of their shared interest in ceramics. Ms. Sisco is the high school’s ceramics teacher and advisor to the Empty Bowls Club, so she was thrilled that her and Emily’s paths, as she put it, had “serendipitously crossed again.”

Even though Emily isn’t enrolled in any of Ms. Sisco’s classes, Emily is in her room every single day.

“Emily came to me in the first few days of school, and wanted to know if she could use the wheel,” said Ms. Sisco. “I was really excited for her, and the answer was ‘absolutely!’ Since then, I’ve seen Emily more than I see many of my enrolled students, who I just see on class days.”

Part of the reason Emily, a perennial Honor Roll student, has been spending so much time at the wheel this year, is to hone her ceramics skills before she makes the move to college in 2024. She is planning to study Fine Arts, and at the time we sat down to chat, was waiting to hear back from her first choice school, SUNY New Paltz.

Ms. Sisco was excited to hear that Emily was applying to her alma mater, and gladly provided a letter of recommendation.

“Emily is an exceptional artist. She is fiercely motivated in and out of school, and she works on her craft every day,” said Ms. Sisco. “That’s made her an expert in her field around here! She always has tips to share with the younger kids… and even me.”

Emily’s inspiration to pursue an art degree comes from the same place as her lifelong love of art, and her creative and inquisitive spirit.

“My mom is a very big inspiration to me. She taught me how to do basically everything I know,” said Emily. “She went to school for art and education. She was an art teacher, so it’s something I’ve been around since I was younger,”  

Emily’s broad artistic interests have led to her to explore many different media, but she said she always comes back to her two favorites. Her number one is painting, and has had her work awarded at juried shows. Ceramics has been a close second since she first studied it during her sophomore year.

“I love painting so much,” she said. “And I love ceramics. Those are my favorites, but I what I really enjoy, is being able to diversify my knowledge. I like knowing how to do be able to do different things.”

For example, Emily said she also does a type of printmaking known as lino printing, in which artists carve patterns into linoleum and then ink the relief on those carvings to print the patterns.

“That was my mom again,” said Emily. “She wanted to try it out, so she bought all the stuff to do the carving and everything. I thought, ‘I want to try this, this looks fun.’ So, I did… and it was!”

Ms. Sisco appreciates the “integral role” she said Emily has taken on in the Empty Bowls Club. A bit of background first.

The Empty Bowls Club gives back to the community by making pottery and then selling or donating those pieces to local charitable groups. Not only do the students learn how to work with clay to create hand-built pieces, they learn the importance community service, being mindful of your community’s needs and how your talents and skills might help meet them. Emily and her Empty Bowls peers are proud to help local charitable groups like Backpack Snack Attack, the Wickham Works Makers Markets, and Warwick’s food pantries. 

“Besides making fantastic pieces for Empty Bowls, she is always helping out the other students, and they really look up to her,” Ms. Sisco said. “It’s nice to have a senior who is so involved and active in the ceramic studio. I can’t tell you how delighted I’ve been to have Emily as a peer leader in the Empty Bowls Club.”

Emily said that she does like helping other people, and has been enjoying the opportunities to mentor to others.

“It definitely makes me happy,” Emily smiled. “I like helping people and seeing where they go, where their creativity takes them, with my assistance.”

Ms. Sisco sees a bright future for Emily, thanks to her wonderful combination of creativity and skill, her commitment to learning, and her ability to connect with others.

“I love hearing Emily’s insights into ceramics as a young, up and coming artist,” said Ms. Sisco. “She has so many creative ideas. I’m always learning from Emily, and I know she will go on to do great things!”


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