“One day I took a ceramics class, I’ve been addicted since,” expressed UF ceramics BFA junior Michelle Ettrick. She always considered herself crafty, so while returning to school at the age of 44, Ettrick quickly found her place in the art world.
Beginning her art career at the College of Central Florida in Ocala, Florida, Ettrick had never touched clay before she took a ceramics class with Charlie Cummings (MFA Ceramics ‘11) in the spring of 2014. Cummings remembers that it “quickly became apparent that Michelle has a rare gift and deep passion for ceramics.”
Ettrick finished her second ever ceramics assignment in just two days and came to Cummings asking for more work. Not only did she complete the additional assignments, Ettrick began teaching herself by watching YouTube videos on ceramics and created “at least three times the number of pots as the other thirteen students in the class combined” mentioned Cummings.
Ettrick explained that she was not aware of all the opportunities in art before she began attending these art classes. Since then, she has gone onto to transfer to the University of Florida and is currently a junior pursuing a Bachelors of Fine Arts in ceramics.
“Attending UF has been awesome,” declared Ettrick, who continued to express her gratitude for all of the support she has received within the College of the Arts. She expressed that without the help and push of her teachers and peers, she would not have applied to fellowships and exhibitions like the Fine Arts College Council Juried Arts Exhibition this past January, where she won an award for her sculpture.
More recently, she applied to and received the National Council of Education for the Ceramic Arts’ Multicultural Fellowship. The fellowship was created to cultivate greater diversity in the field of ceramic art through simple, direct and meaningful gestures of welcome. It supports ceramicists from traditionally underrepresented cultural backgrounds while attending their annual conference.
Ettrick says that she feels lucky to go to NCECA, which took place in Kansas City this year. The conference’s theme explored the personal, social and aesthetic forces that animate creative work with elemental materials, methods and ideas in the midst of the information age.