A growing part of modern life is chronic psychological stress. However, we have not adapted to this type and level of strain. Our maladaptive physiological responses to contemporary stressors are compounded by the tendency to suppress emotion and ignore other bodily clues and consequences that slowly accumulate. In my current work, I explore issues surrounding this situation through the extended traditions of figurative and vessel based ceramics. With clay and mixed media pieces, I refer to the human body, its systems, or microscopic components and point to the complex mind-body relationship that is only beginning to be accepted in Western culture. The human body has evolved to respond to immediate stressors in a manner similar to all other mammals. When we identify a threat, or a goal, our hearts race, and various chemicals pour into our blood stream. Our energy is diverted away from long-term projects (like digestion) and routed to large muscles that help with mobilization. This system is great for hunting or escaping being hunted, but it is also triggered when we think about non-immediate stressors (like bills, work, politics, relationships, etc.). In our fast paced success oriented culture, we activate the stress response often without an outlet for the energy and tend to stifle the feelings that go along with it. With chronic stress, or even moments of intense stress, physiological changes can occur in the body. With the exhibition Maladaptivitis, I examine these changes and how this kind of psychological stress affects us. The pieces represent an exploration of the feelings that go along with stress responses and are informed by scientific research that has found how mammals are physically affected by stress. Starting with figurative pieces that address the overall body, I focus on the way stress feels but also approach the forms in segmented or layered parts that represent the diversion of energy. These works reveal feelings of rawness, tension, or nervous-energy with crude or worn surfaces, drawn-out fibers, or frenetic wire. Looking internally to our large systems, I move into the subject of digestive and cardiovascular structures. Contorted, dark stomach forms refer to digestive upset and peptic ulcers while wire or fiber elements refer to the chaotic energy in stressed-out intestines. Common experience gives us phrases like having a 'stomach tied in knots' and is part of my inspiration with the Gastro series. The knowledge that the heart can become enlarged, the arteries become more rigid and clogged, and that sudden cardiac arrest can result from stressors informs the Cardio series. In day-to-day experience, we may just feel some tightness in the chest that is easily ignored, but some occasions may include severe pain or distress. This work visually describes some of these transient incidents. Finally, I continue inward into the microscopic system of the brain and end at a cellular level with forms based on neurons in a disconnected network. Synapcide reveals how I've been influenced by recent studies showing that chronic stressors can cause the branchy synapses in the brain to pull apart, making thought processes more cumbersome. With wire and wool branches I picture the feeling of having a fuzzy mind, a common component of being stressed out. Scientific research informs the format of the work in Maladaptivitis, but each piece is my visualization of a feeling that is a result of a stressor or a clue to the consequences of chronic stress. This work reveals these feelings and physiological indicators in relationship to our ever-expanding knowledge from science. Slides of this project are available for viewing at the Slide Library in the School of Art, Design, and Art History.