The Babson Twizzler® Mural: Innovative, Artistic, and Sweet!
At a staff/faculty workshop last year, participants, including Babson Ceramics Artist-In-Residence Stephanie Osser, were asked to break into groups of 4 and to do something collaboratively with a Twizzler® – a favorite sweet of Undergrad Dean Dennis Hanno!
Each team member was to take a turn in the roles of initiator (influencer or leader), supporter (follower), opposer (counter-leader), and witness (active observer).
When it was her turn to initiate, Osser thought immediately of doing something in her medium – clay. She imagined pressing the Twizzler into clay, making a master mold, and reproducing an image on tiles from the impressions of the clay in the Twizzler. She felt the spiral candy shape would lend itself well to her idea. It took her “team” some convincing…and some trust.
After the workshop, Osser pursued the idea and with help from ceramics student Dalila Fernandez Dolengo, wife of a current MBA student, she found a design inspiration: an image of a tree that looked like a dancing woman.
The reproduced picture of the tree was divided into 6” x 6” squares. Then Osser enlarged the squares to create the 3’ x 5’ mural size she wanted. Together with volunteers and student monitors they pressed out the tiles, transferred the imager and applied tons of clay Twizzlers.
After slow drying and bisque firing in the Babson studio kiln, more ceramic students glazed it, including undergrads Jamaal Eversley and Obe Boakye, and senior director in the dean’s office, Joyce Gordon.
It took a year to complete, and with help from Facilities, it is on display across from room 215 in Trim/Sorenson Visual Arts Center. The names of many volunteer artists are on the mural.
Osser hopes it will inspire students to dream a little, be creative and innovative. Isn’t that the entrepreneur’s theme song?
“Students are stopping to admire it,” says Osser. “Some just see a tree; some notice that the tree is a dancing figure. Some have to be convinced that it’s not made of real Twizzlers!”