To most people, dust, dirt and sand are just elements that annoy us and stain our clothes. But artist Joyce Ogden investigates them, using them as inspiration for her sculptures.

Sculptor Joyce Ogden is this semester's guest artist at ETSU. Photography by: Contributed

Sculptor Joyce Ogden is this semester’s guest artist at ETSU. /Contributed

Ogden began her career in art focusing mainly on fibers and ceramics. Eventually, however, she began to look at the materials in front of her and asked herself, “What would they do if you hung them, or how did they respond to gravity?”

Ogden currently lives on a farm in Southern Indiana where she uses a variety of natural elements in her sculptures, including red clay, water, seeds, nut husks, seed pods and chicken eggs.

“My work really just comes from observing the world around me,” Ogden said. “I’m fascinated by what I see and fascinated by nature and really slowing down and taking the moment to notice something that we have probably taken for granted before.”

“It’s wonderful,” she said, “I feel like it’s a big collaboration, and that really excites me. It’s a collaboration with nature.”

Ogden is a professor of art at the Kentucky College of Art and Design at Spalding University.

She received her MFA from the Henry Radford Hope School of Fine Arts at Indiana University in Bloomington.

This semester, however, Ogden is visiting ETSU as a guest artist.

Ogden has received numerous grants and awards throughout her career, including the Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Grant Program, the Kentucky Foundation for Women Sallie Bingham Award and the Al Smith Fellowship from the Kentucky Arts Council.

She is also a founding member of ENID, a Louisville, Kentucky-based women sculptors organization. The group’s name is inspired by Louisville sculptor Enid Yandell.

Last semester, Ogden served as the juror for the 2015 FL3TCH3R Exhibit of Social and Politically Engaged Art.

The FL3TCH3R Exhibit was created by the parents of former ETSU art student Fletcher Dyer. Fletcher passed away in 2009 after a motorcycle accident.

Fletcher’s father, M. Wayne Dyer, chose Ogden as the juror because of her own work involving socially engaged pieces about the environment.

“With her dynamic work, doing socially engaged pieces in terms of the environment that have an organic perspective, we wanted her to come during the show,” Dyer said.

Sponsored by the Mary B. Martin School of the Arts and the Department of Art and Design, Ogden will give a talk about her work at 7 p.m. March 2 in the Ball Hall Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public.

For more information on the event or Ogden’s time at ETSU, visit or call 439-8587.