The UF Ceramics Program recently welcomed back Diana Faris (MFA Art ’95) to host a half-day workshop for students. Faris has worked at Amaco, a leading manufacturer of ceramic products and art supplies, for more than a decade. In her role as director of educational outreach she travels nationally to teach color and surface using Amaco glaze and underglaze products. Amaco generously donated all materials for testing and experimentation with the clays and glazes made in the ceramics shop.
Nan Smith, professor of ceramics, said Faris’ visit provided students with the chance to meet and network with an alumna from the program and showcased what an alternative career in education can look like.
“It was encouraging to see a UF alumni working in the field at one of the premier ceramics material suppliers,” said Paige Ward, a first-year graduate student who met Faris for the first time in March 2014 at the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA) Annual Conference in Milwaukee. “I enjoyed working with fellow students in the program and learning about new Amaco products.”
Faris said that although she had returned to campus occasionally over the years, the workshop element made this a special visit.
“Visiting UF Ceramics brought back to mind to my exciting and fulfilling graduate student experience there in the 90s,” said Faris. “Upon entering the studio hallways, I was reminded how different places bring on visceral memories, and how easy it can be to slip back into a different or past ‘reality.’”
Faris said she was impressed by the work she saw being created by the graduate and advanced students. “I wished I could slide in and create alongside them for a semester or two,” she said. “I’m very grateful to the Ceramics Department faculty—Nan Smith, Linda Arbuckle and Anna Calluori Holcombe—for building and maintaining such a strong program and alumni network. They truly add value to the UF Ceramics education program by providing career advice, support and opportunities for those who are fortunate to study with them. Having been away for almost two decades, I can see how unique and beneficial that support is to sustain a career in art.”