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Artist: Rosa Ballena


Rosa Ballena
Rosa Ballena, IOWA

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Ceramic artist and independent translator. I am currently completing a Master of Fine Arts in Literary Translation and Post-Baccalaureate in Ceramics at the University of Iowa. In recent years, my translation work has involved academic and literary texts with an emphasis on ecocriticism; several of my translations will be published by Northwestern University Press in 2019. My ceramic art centers around functional, wheel-thrown vessels that explore gesture, movement and fluidity. I am passionate about language and literature, cultural criticism, environmental ethics, and visual arts.

My current work strives to balance seemingly contradictory impulses. The undulations in the rim, the soft and loose lines that travel the circumference of the body, are thrown into relief by the precise cut-away of the foot. Comfort tapered by discomfort; looseness and variability tugging at functionality. The firing process, either soda or wood, as well as the materials used, almost exclusively porcelain, heighten this organicism and this functionality. The resultant vessels are meant to be both aesthetically appealing and enjoyable to use.

EDUCATION Master of Fine Arts in Literary Translation Expected May 2019 University of Iowa Iowa City, IA

Post-Baccalaureate in Ceramics Expected May 2019 University of Iowa Iowa City, IA

Bachelor of Arts in Politics and Spanish May 2011 University of Sussex Brighton, UK

Erasmus Exchange Program 2009-2010 Universidad Complutense de Madrid Madrid, Spain

Exchange Program 2008-2009 Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile Santiago, Chile

CERAMICS EDUCATION AND EXPERIENCE Post-Baccalaureate in Ceramics 2018-1019 University of Iowa Iowa City, IA

  • Currently developing a body of work with guidance from Andrew Casto and Benjamin Upchurch.
  • Emphasis on soda and wood firing processes.

Studio Facilitator 2016-Present Marwen Foundation Chicago, IL

  • Non-profit arts organization dedicated to underserved Chicago youth. As Studio Facilitator, I teach ceramics to middle and high-school aged students and am responsible for general studio maintenance.

Student, Assistant Teacher and Studio Monitor 2016-2017 Lillstreet Art Center Chicago, IL

  • As assistant teacher and studio monitor, I taught adult-level porcelain and throwing classes, and was responsible for aspects of studio maintenance.

Student Spring 2015, Summer 2014 Penland School of Crafts Asheville, North Carolina

  • Work-study scholarship for Back to Basics, eight-week course taught by Cynthia Bringle
  • Work-study scholarship for Wood firing, two-week course taught by Nick Schwartz

Studio Apprenticeship 2013-2014, 2015-2016 Andrea Lallana Reñaca, Chile

  • Responsibilities included teaching, assisting in production, and general studio maintenance.

Studio Apprenticeship 2012-2013 Sandra Pincheira and Piedad Peña Santiago, Chile

  • General studio maintenance.

TRANSLATION/LANGUAGE EDUCATION AND EXPERIENCE Master of Fine Arts in Literary Translation 2017-2019 University of Iowa Iowa City, IA

  • Multi-disciplinary MFA program centered around translation and creative writing workshops, translation theory, and language and cultural studies. Students take classes in the Iowa Writers' Workshop and work with visiting authors in the International Writing Program.
  • As a graduate student, I have pursued projects centered around ecocriticism and issues of language and power.

Teaching Assistantship 2017-2019 University of Iowa Iowa City, IA

  • Spanish Teaching Assistant for Elementary Spanish II.

Contributing Translator for The Latin-American Eco-Cultural Reader, Heffes, G., French, J. (eds),

Northwestern University Press 2019

  • Spanish to English translations of contemporary Latin American literature centered around issues of environment.

Independent Translator 2012-2017 Santiago, Chile

  • Spanish to English translation projects, primarily of graduate and post-graduate academic texts within the fields of history, political theory, and philosophy. My most significant project within this period was a 140,000-word textbook published by Springer in 2016.

British Council Language Assistant 2011-2012 Universidad Católica Silva Henriquez Santiago, Chile

  • Language assistant for undergraduate students majoring in English Pedagogy.
  • Taught classes, organized an English-language film series and newsletter.

OTHER EXPERIENCE Thru-hikes of the Colorado Trail and John Muir Trail 2017, 2018

Americorps Trail Crew Volunteer 2006-2007 Bureau of Land Management Coconino County, AZ

  • Nine-month service. Removal of invasive species, forest thinning, and building and maintaining backcountry trails.

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