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Taking joy in art: student excels across multiple mediums of art

May 30, 2018

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Taking joy in art: student excels across multiple mediums of art

One of Fennell's glazed pieces that were featured in the WHS Art Show of 2018.

One of Fennell's glazed pieces that were featured in the WHS Art Show of 2018.

Heather Lee

One of Fennell's glazed pieces that were featured in the WHS Art Show of 2018.

Heather Lee

Heather Lee

One of Fennell's glazed pieces that were featured in the WHS Art Show of 2018.

Sitting behind a wheel and throwing the cool, thick clay down again and again is this student’s favorite part of the day. Working the clay with her fingers and palms, she lets the rest of her life fade away as the creative process restores her from the stress of a busy day.

Since entering WHS, senior Sophie Fennell has been involved in and dedicated to the arts. Whether it’s clay, photography, or a performance on her guitar, Fennell has expressed her artistic talent through a number of media.

“I love art and feel like it provides an outlet to be creative and learn in a physical way that isn’t really the style of most of my academic classes,” Fennell said.

Over the years, Fennell has explored multiple media of art, including clay, photography, music, animations, and graphic designs. Having taught her in four clay classes and three photography classes, art department head Christopher Fehl noted Fennell’s commitment to creating quality work.

“She holds herself to a high standard, and it has nothing to do with her grade,” Fehl said. “It has to do with her own recognition of the quality of the work she has done.”

With her mother being a photographer, Fennell grabbed a camera at the age of 11. Since then, she has taken photography classes at WHS and has created several senior photos for the class of 2018.

“I love the connection that happens between the photographer and the subject, whether it’s a person, animal, landscape, or flower,” Fennell said. “To me, [photography’s] about taking that extra second or two to really understand what’s going on in the moment and [capturing] it in  a special form of expression.”

Music has also helped Fennell express herself, as she uses it to convey ideas and thoughts that she wouldn’t say to people otherwise.

“Music is important to me because it’s how I communicate. I’m honestly not that great at talking, but ever since I was much younger, music has helped me get across what I want to say when there just aren’t words for it,” she said.

Although music and photography were the first media of art she used, Fennell said her favorite medium is clay due to how calming it is to work with.

“I love working with clay so much, especially throwing on the wheel,” she said. “It’s very calming, and the messiness and time commitment makes me feel really connected to whatever I’m working on. I really lose track of time when I do it.”

According to Fehl, Fennell’s personality and commitment to art also helps other students feel comfortable in clay class.

“Having someone like Sophie in the class makes people feel welcome,” Fehl said. “Even if she’s not verbally making others feel more comfortable, she does just by her attitude and her demeanor and interactions with people. She’s kind and she’s thoughtful. All of those things elevate the entire class and make the studio a sanctuary for everyone.”

After four years of creating, shooting, and crafting, Fennell has finally closed the chapter of her life at WHS. Yet her artistic career is far from over as she plans on pursuing songwriting at the Berklee School of Music. Fennell’s commitment to and love for art and music will continue to be a big part of her life as she moves on to new opportunities in the future.

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