Elbowing Her Way In

Lily Schumacher ’21 explored making beautiful patterns out of her own biology at the prestigious Anderson Ranch Arts fellowship.

Elbowing Her Way In
Photos by Lily Schumacher '21

Since ancient Greece, scientists and philosophers have studied patterns in nature as a way to identify order in a seemingly chaotic world—the perfect spiral of a snail’s shell, wind-blown ripples in sand, fractals in a head of broccoli. It’s a fascination shared by Lily Schumacher ’21, a double-major in biochemistry and sculpture, and one she got to explore last summer through a scholarship to the prestigious Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Snowmass Village, Colorado.

“I took the life casting class because it involved making multiples, something I was already doing through my large-scale metal sculptures,” she says. “I chose to cast my elbow because I like its right-angle bend and how it’s an inherently repeatable form.” In other words: she made artistic patterns out of her own biology. Schumacher is interested in careers that would combine her fluencies in fine arts and science, such as creating exhibits for science museums or producing medical textbook drawings.

“To me, art and science feed into each other,” she says. “I use art to translate the beautiful patterns I see every day in my science classes into a more widely accessible medium. Meanwhile, art enables me to better understand science through my ability to visualize complex subjects.”

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