How has working with the kiln fostered your growth as an artist?
Working with the anagama kiln has helped me grow as an artist because some of my best (and favorite) pieces have come from the wood firings. It has boosted my confidence in my own art while letting me experience one of the many different ways that ceramics can be fired to get the results you want.

UWG student Zoey Cash's artwork

Describe how this experience allowed you to apply what you learned in the classroom.
Firing an anagama kiln has allowed me to apply two very important things I have learned in ceramics classes: piece construction and glass melting. An anagama kiln is considered a “high firing,” which means the temperature inside can reach more than 2,000 degrees. Learning the basics on how to construct well-put together pieces is a great way to ensure your ceramics survive the volatile environment inside the kiln. Glass melting, on the other hand, is something I have personally been experimenting with the past few semesters. Glass pieces melt even at the lower temperatures of basic bisque and glaze firings, but wood firing pieces with glass on them can give some really stellar results. I think I prefer high firing glass pieces to low firing them because you can achieve drastic changes.

How has working with faculty like Professor Collins made you excited about honing existing skills and/or learning new techniques?
Both of our ceramics faculty, Professor Collins and Professor [Nathan] Carnes, are absolutely amazing people to work with. They are both successful artists and are happy to share their experiences with their students. They are willing to help with anything we might need and provide constructive feedback. Working with them has led me to where I am as a ceramic artist today – excited to be in the studio working with clay and creating art that I enjoy. They encourage experimentation,which has been a huge bonus in having them as professors because sometimes, as an artist, you never truly know what you want your art to be about, so it’s good to get to play around with the materials until you figure it out. I am thankful to have been able to work with them to gain the ceramics knowledge I know today.

If you would feel comfortable sharing, we’d love to see a picture of your finished piece. Could you also include the title, if there is one, and the inspiration behind your work?
In the past couple of years, I have attempted to include emotions within my art. After transferring to UWG, I had to take a public speaking/art class, where I learned how art can affect how people feel, whether it be through subject matter, context or even color. It fascinated me how art could have such an impact on others, and when I finally got to start taking ceramics classes, I tried to incorporate certain feelings within my art. Eventually, this evolved into portraying my own feelings through my ceramics and seeing how others reacted to it. This would have to be my favorite piece from our wood kiln this year (although it has been re-fired in our gas kilns to gain more glaze color, and I added glass to it for that firing). I have titled it “Ophelia,” and the design fits within the vein of work I am currently pursuing: bodily centered pieces (in my case, rib like structures) used as vessels to harbor certain feelings and evoke feelings from others.