How has working with the kiln fostered your growth as an artist?
Working with the kiln this year has taught me so much about ceramics that is necessary for my growth as a ceramics major. I wouldn’t have learned as much as I did if my professors didn’t push me to be as involved as they did. I appreciate them taking me out of my comfort zone and trusting me with the tasks I was assigned. I will take part in the anagama kiln next year with a much better understanding of the process. I still have a lot to learn, which is exciting because I know I will continue to grow with each year that I am a part of the art program.

UWG student Grace Jorek's artwork

Describe how this experience allowed you to apply what you learned in the classroom.
Almost everything that is taught in the classroom must be taken into account with the anagama kiln. The clay and glazes we learn to work with in the classroom are equally as important in the success of a piece. I learned most of what I know about glazes over a summer course where we made and tested several. Ceramics is all about experimentation, and it was interesting to be able to experiment with the materials I learned about over summer in the anagama kiln. 

How has working with faculty like Professor Collins made you excited about honing existing skills and/or learning new techniques?
The faculty in the UWG art program have played a vital role in my success as an artist. I am beyond appreciative of everything they have done for me. I decided to switch to a ceramics major after my first beginning ceramics course with Dave [Collins]. That is a decision that I never expected myself to make as I hated working with clay in high school. Something I thought I hated ended up being my passion because I was put in the right environment to realize that. Dave, Nathan [Carnes], and the other ceramics majors also played a role in my decision to switch because I saw what they were able to create and looked up to them. I could not be in a better environment than I am right now when it comes to the faculty and art program. Dave and Nathan have both been extremely supportive of me as I grow as an artist and have offered anything they can to help further my career and offer insight on how to be successful after I graduate. They offer critique that is necessary for me to grow as well as encouragement when I am successful with something, which inspires me to keep creating. 

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?
I focused on pottery rather than making sculptural pieces. I learned that several of the glazes react very differently depending on how thick it is applied and where it is placed in the kiln. Several pieces ended up not working out due to the glaze recipes reacting to the salt we added to the kiln.