Hannah Stuercke fashioning a heart sculpture

Her Artwork is Heartwork

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by Halle Johnson, Student Public Relations Writer

Heart sculptureWhen senior Hannah Stuercke, a nursing major from Monterey, California, was assigned a project for her ceramics foundation course, her work took a surprising turn.

Combining her love for nursing and anatomy with creative studio art, Stuercke fashioned ceramic organ sculptures. Her works of art are currently on display in the university’s school of nursing. Though science and art may seem like an unlikely duo, that wasn’t always the case. Great historic artists such as Leonardo-Da Vinci and Wolfgang-Amadeus Mozart were also scientists. It seems like Stuercke is in good company.

“Many nursing majors are visual learners,” said Stuercke. “The ceramics just added that kinesthetic learning aspect for me.”

Cat Mailloux, an assistant professor of studio art at Cedarville, said that Stuercke’s art started as a project that focused on using the slab technique to create two lidded vessels. Beginning with two static kidney boxes, Stuercke then expanded into a series of anatomy-related jars, creating an organic heart box as well as stackable lungs.

“Hannah’s art took plastic models used in the classroom and turned them into functional pottery,” said Mailloux. “Her ceramics seemed to be heavily inspired by the pull-apart educational tools used in anatomy.”

Stuercke is no stranger to the merging of art and science. Her father is a first-grade teacher while her mother teaches math at a local middle school. Stuercke was encouraged by her mother to major in nursing, but it was her father who encouraged her artistic gift. Originally interested in illustration, Stuercke has 27 finished paintings reminiscent of the children’s books her father keeps in his classroom.

While they encouraged her varied interests, Stuercke’s parents also taught her the value of serving others with her talents. Though Stuercke originally chose nursing out of an interest in science, her passion for the service it supplies has grown over time.

“I have always thought that you do your job, you do it well and you love the people around you,” said Stuercke. “Nursing is all about loving others. The mindset, the science, the medicine you learn is all centered on loving people. How could you not fall in love with that?”

After her graduation this spring, Hannah plans to move to Michigan to work in a hospital emergency department, where she can bring her compassion for others, love of nursing, and creative problem-solving to one field of work. While Stuercke is not planning on pursuing ministry full time, she hopes to someday use her art to work for nonprofits or volunteer at an art therapy clinic. In both her artwork and nursing, Stuercke is motivated by a passion for loving others.

“In the same way that your love for God will spill over into the rest of your life, my time spent in nursing has spilled over into my art,” said Stuercke. Her ceramics are, in many ways, an overflow of the heart.

Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is an accredited, Christ-centered, Baptist institution with an enrollment of 4,715 undergraduate, graduate, and online students in more than 150 areas of study. Founded in 1887, Cedarville is one of the largest private universities in Ohio, recognized nationally for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, including the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, strong graduation, and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings, and high student engagement ranking. For more information about the University, visit cedarville.edu