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Molding a New Life | News | thefranklinnews.com – The Franklin News

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Partly cloudy skies. Scattered frost possible. Low 31F. Winds WSW at 5 to 10 mph.
Updated: April 9, 2022 @ 6:59 pm
Junior Gauge Creech started his swimming career because he wanted to wear a speedo in elementary school. 
Getting accepted to the first and only college I applied to as a high school junior had me ecstatic. I was going to be part of something much …
Senior Haven Tunin paints glaze onto a mug. 

Senior Haven Tunin’s relationship with her pottery can vary wildly from day to day; sometimes she feels so attached to a mug that she doesn’t want to sell it, while other times she smashes her work on the floor.  
“The other day I was trimming, and I trimmed through every single pot I made, and I literally just took them all and started chucking them across the room,” Tunin said.
She smiles and goes back to trimming a design into a mug with a knife. Destroying her work doesn’t phase her at this point. It’s a way for her to assess the quality of her work and constantly reevaluate her progress. She can just toss fragments from a broken piece onto a pile to be used later. 
But she can’t recover all of her lost pieces. 
“I didn’t have the best childhood, so I turned to art as a coping mechanism,” Tunin said. 
Her parents were both alcoholics and weren’t the most pleasant people, she said. She spent a lot of time in her room sketching and visualizing her future.
In high school, she wasn’t the best in other subjects but art always felt right. 
Her parents told her not to go to Franklin because it would be too expensive and she wouldn’t be able to make any money from art. 
She enrolled anyway.
Senior Haven Tunin paints glaze onto a mug. 
She thought about dropping out a couple of weeks into her freshman year to become a tattoo apprentice. 
“I just didn’t know anything about the art world,” Tunin said. “That was really the only thing I thought you could do is be a tattoo artist.”
Her boyfriend, Devon Vogeler, helped convince her to stay in school. 
At Franklin, she discovered that she could paint, which snagged her attention for a while. Then she made a mushroom mug in her ceramics class during her junior year and hasn’t looked back since. 
She took a year to practice before selling her mugs, which now go for $50 each. In January, Tunin made 60 mugs. Her yield depends on the amount of time she can take away from her classwork and her other job serving at Greek’s Pizzeria.
Last summer, she interned for local artisan, Adam Egenolf who taught her the day-to-day life of running a ceramics business. 
Egenolf said Tunin learned through actions. Each day she worked for him, they would pick a task and she would spend the day on it. 
“Any time something was happening, I asked if she wanted to participate or if she just wanted to watch from the sidelines, and she always wanted to participate,” Egenolf said. 
Egenolf said Tunin has the drive and energy she needs to make it in the art world, but he shared a glimpse of what she’ll be getting herself into. Art shows, he said, are tough on him because they require him to drive to another state on the weekends, leaving his family behind, and working 15-hour days. The returns on investment are variable. 
“There’s nothing like working as hard as you can for weeks at a time to get ready for something, taking all the time to drive to some other state to set up in some random place and then lose money. It’s not something that everyone accepts instantly,” Egenolf said. 
But Tunin said she feels ready to take on the challenge. A few weeks ago, she sold her art at the Toledo Fine Art Fair in Toledo, Ohio. 
After graduation, Tunin plans to move into her grandmother’s house and use her garage as a studio—after a lot of cleaning. 
Making her studio will probably take a while, she said, because it’s going to be a hefty financial investment. Kilns can cost over $3,000, for example. She plans to take a break from her business after graduation to make it happen. 
For now, she’s clinging to the 24/7 access studio in Hoover-Cline, where she spent 220 hours last semester, despite the fact that she commutes to campus from Indianapolis. 
She likes the campus studio because there are no limitations. 
“This gives me a ton of freedom, since I’m literally able to make whatever I want in here,” Tunin said. “And it’s kind of like a stress reliever. Throwing on the wheel is just such a repetitive task that you don’t really have to keep your mind on it.” 
When she’s not in the studio, she is at her apartment where she is constantly crafting ideas. 
Designs flash in her head and replay like movie clips, and her brain begs her to make them tangible. Sometimes when a compelling idea lands, she drives to campus on the spot—even if it’s in the middle of the night. 
“A lot of my falling in love with ceramics happened at 2 a.m.,” Tunin said. “At the end of the day, it’s not like you can go to the bank and do what you’re supposed to do. You literally only can go to sleep or make art.”
Art professor David Cunningham also spent exorbitant hours in the studio as a young man, drawing from motivation that came from the fiber of his being. 
When he initially met Tunin, he saw a reflection of himself. 
“The kind of work that she was making had an obsessiveness about it that isn’t really taught,” Cunningham said. “The work ethic is not about trying to get a project done or trying to get applause from other people—They’re doing it because they’re internally driven to do it as a way for them to understand and heal themselves.”
With a grin, Cunningham—who has been Tunin’s professor every semester since she arrived as a freshman—recalled the first time she tried ceramics. She was not amused. 
“If she doesn’t see how it’s going to benefit her, she doesn’t want to do it,” Cunningham said. “She took ceramics, and she was irritated by the first things of like making tiles and that stuff.”
Every time he asked her to try something, she refused. Cunningham remembers that she didn’t want to throw on the wheel, and it took a lot of convincing to get her to come around. 
Today, she resists the boundaries of assignments. He remembered with a laugh the time he asked all students in his painting class to create a still-life image, but she found a way to sneak a human portrait into her piece. 
She gets tunnel vision, Cunningham said.
“Even if she was doing something else, she would still make art. Even if there was no money in it, she would still make art,” Cunningham said. 
He understands her. Both were searching for something in themselves that might unlock the secrets of the world. For Cunningham, that means spiritual awakening. He doesn’t know what that means for Tunin. 
Much of the determination for driven creatives stems from childhood trauma, Cunningham explained. They find art as a place where they can be in control, amidst an otherwise chaotic life. 
Cunningham’s father was an alcoholic who wasn’t really a part of his life. His mom remarried to a gruff, sports-loving man when he was five, and they mostly left him alone. He spent his childhood sketching in solitude. 
He became “the art guy” in high school, garnering much respect from his peers. He worked to become the best artist on campus as an undergraduate student at the University of Evansville, often losing sleep to his work. 
Like Tunin, Cunningham said he had no fall-back plan. He had to make it in the art world if he wanted to escape from his family. 
Tunin moved into her own apartment when she was 18. 
Her boyfriend, Devon Vogeler, said that was a necessary escape. 
“It’s hard to believe that she got through that just fine because that would definitely, to other people, be soul crushing, and you wouldn’t be able to come out of that,” Vogeler said. 
Vogeler said her family’s dysfunctional nature likely played a role in shaping her. 
“I know she definitely has a spite for the way her parents act,” Vogeler said. “I don’t know if her resilience spirit necessarily had to come out of that or if that was something more ingrained in her that also just helped her get through the childhood.”
Vogeler said Tunin has matured in the past few years and dedicates much time to her vision. He sees her a lot less than he used to because she spends so much time in the studio, but he knows she’s on a mission that can’t be altered.
She even feels guilty when she slacks off. 
“I don’t really know where the motivation comes from,” Tunin said. “I feel like there’s a force from the universe that makes me create… It’s like an internal drive that’s like, ‘Don’t sit at home and do nothing. You’ve got to go create artwork.’”
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