K. Mae Harkins

BFA | Ceramics


My name is Mae Harkins and I’m originally from Katonah, NY. I received my BFA in Studio Art with a concentration in Ceramics from the University of Notre Dame, along with a BA in Spanish. Along with working with themes of mental health, I enjoy creating photography, printmaking, and ceramics inspired by the beauty of the mundane. When not creating art, I enjoy baking, hammocking, and spending time with my cat Banister.


Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, or OCD, is a life-consuming psychological disorder that affects millions of people. This commonly misunderstood and mistreated disorder affects the entire way that people with OCD think and behave, and it influences every part of their lives.

A common OCD theme is religious OCD, or scrupulosity, which is portrayed in this work. Religious OCD causes patients to examine their every action, worrying that it may have been a sin.

The crosses on the paneling are representative of the four-part cycle of OCD, which I likened and aligned to a similar four-part cycle of sin: for OCD, obsession, anxiety and guilt, compulsion, temporary relief; for sin, the sin, anxiety and guilt, Confession, and temporary forgiveness.

The Holy Water fonts, excessive in number, reflect the way that OCD patients obsessively and repetitively act. Some are filled with tap water, while others are filled with Holy Water. The viewer can never know which is which, causing the uncertainty that creates anxiety for people with OCD.

The stained glass window portrays the scene of Mary Magdalene washing Jesus’ feet, with my own likeness as both figures, as people with OCD driving their guilt need not seek forgiveness from outside sources, but from within.


Rituals and Reconciliations