In the Loop
Alumni News : Mar 16, 2018

Alumna reminisces on collaborative, social ceramics community at UF

By Madison Hallman

Autumn Higgins, a ceramics post-baccalaureate alumna, recently published an article in Ceramics Monthly. We caught up with her in a Q&A about art, inspiration and the impact of the ceramics program at UF.

How did you become interested in ceramics?

My family is very artistic. My mom is an artist, and my grandparents both worked in ceramics. My grandpa taught ceramics at Portland State University; however, I didn’t take a formal ceramics class until college.

What was your favorite art piece you’ve created?

A: It would probably be my thesis exhibition when I was in grad school at Louisiana State University. I spent a lot of time on this show. The purpose of the exhibition was to make it look like you were inside a city. The whole show worked well with what I was interested in. Because each piece was created in-perspective, each piece interacted with the others the way I wanted it to.

How do you feel your time at UF prepare you for your future?

I finished my undergraduate degree a few years ago before going to UF. I spent only one year at UF, but during that year I was able to be a part of the UF ceramics community. The ceramics community was a lot more connected because UF had a graduate program. I was able to work closely with the professors who helped me apply to grad school.

What advice would you give to current students interested in the arts?

Don’t do anything last minute. Also, take as many classes as you can, participate in workshops and take other art classes that you’re also interested in.

What is the most rewarding part about being an artist?

The community aspect is very important. For ceramics, you always share equipment and technical information about materials. Ceramics people often have this sense of community and enjoy doing things together, such as having potlucks. It is more of a social art than other forms of art that are more solo-oriented.

Is your creative process the same for every project?

No, it really depends on the project. If I’m doing a more involved, sculptural piece, I really have to plan it out. If I’m doing a more straightforward piece, I go about making something and figuring out how to finish it. Also, sometimes I already have an image in mind and have to figure out the form to make it.

How did you feel when you were asked to publish an article in Ceramics Monthly?

I was nervous but excited. I actually knew the person who was the assistant editor of my article through UF, and he reached out to me to help make it happen. It was really exciting and it’s a great opportunity to share how you do your process.