Ceramics Alumni

Alumni Stories

Sam Joslin holding one of her ceramic sculptures.
Sam Joslin, “Image with Caretaker,” 2020, digital photograph.

Sam, Joslin BFA 2019 – currently an MFA candidate at Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana

I graduated in 2019 from UA with a BFA in ceramics and sculpture. I personally feel like the experience and knowledge I gained from UA’s art department is the best opportunity I could’ve been given as a student striving to be successful in the arts. The faculty, staff and department as a whole genuinely care about their students and work hard to give them unmatched education and practical skills. During my time in the ceramics department, I was given such great opportunities for exhibitions, meetings with visiting artists, and above all consistent valuable input from my professors. Not only will the knowledge I gained from this program stay with me forever, but the relationships will as well. Since graduating, my undergraduate professors and peers are still constantly involved and concerned with my artistic career. I feel very blessed to have been a part of this program. 

Meg Howton, Church Pocket Relics, ceramic

Meg Howton, BFA 2016 – currently an MFA candidate at University of Southern Illinois, Carbondale

The University of Alabama’s ceramics department is an encouraging environment that helps foster the professional development of each student that passes through its program. It gives students the tools to develop their own artistic voice as well as a rounded and thorough knowledge of ceramics. While in the program, I found that my professors were able to provide instruction based on my specific interests and need. This department gives students the necessary push to be successful in their endeavors. Due to the guidance and attention from my professors, I was able to confidently pursue my master of fine arts in ceramics and achieve placements in many national and international exhibitions.

Oliver Reed, BFA 2017 – currently an MFA candidate at Illinois State University

My time in the program really gave me a place to explore and grow. I honestly didn’t know what I was doing, but that was okay.  A big part of art is experimentation. Doing something just because you can. My professors helped create space for me to do that. Play and have fun. That’s what art is supposed to be about. [rt.: ceramic work by Oliver Reed]

Pat Hoban Graduate Student Exhibition, 2018
Pat Hoban

Patrick Hoban, MFA 2019 – currently an intern at The Clay Studio of Missoula

I graduated with my MFA in ceramics in 2019. I think I grew more as a person, artist and student in those three years than I have my whole life. This program gave me the skills I needed to see a career in the art world as a true possibility. Not only were we pushed to grow personally, but we were also encouraged to give back to the community and I found that to be one of the most rewarding aspects of my experience. There are opportunities to create and install permanent artwork in the city of Tuscaloosa and now even in surrounding areas. You can work with the professors or with the Tuscaloosa Arts Council for chances to work with kids, student organizations and clubs where sharing your love for the arts becomes a chance to teach hands-on and get involved in your local community. My experience at Alabama was a great challenge. Anyone with the desire to make a career in ceramics, teaching, or even in the nonprofit sector, this is the program to check out! 

Graduate student Nasrin Iravani working on a ceramics piece for her MA exhibition, 2019. Image courtesy of the artist.
Nasrin Iravani

Nasrin Iravani, MFA 2020 – currently Doctorate in Design candidate in Fabrication Culture: Material and Technology at Louisiana State University

Ceramics at the University of Alabama is a program that teaches leadership and research through critical making and rigorous critique. My advisor and committee members from ceramics, painting, sculpture, and art history welcomed creative research in functional pottery forms, design, object-based sculpture, architectural applications, figurative modeling, and installation. They encourage an exploration of ideas and materials to promote an atmosphere of diverse approaches to making.

As an international student, I never felt lonely and isolated. Every professor was there to support and help me during the three years of my master of fine art program. Wade MacDonald, who is the head of the ceramics program, is very responsible, passionate and enthusiastic in teaching, consulting, and providing a friendly and creative environment in ceramics. I could easily converse with him and ask for useful feedback at any point in time and I always received helpful advice to enhance my research. He is very passionate in his teaching and has a genuineness when working with undergraduate and graduate students.

In my opinion, the University of Alabama is one of the strongest academic institutions in the ceramics field for an undergraduate and graduate degree. I have had wonderful experiences with visiting artists, and faculty who have become my lifelong mentors and friends.

Amy Smoot

Amy Smoot, MFA 2018 – currently an Instructor of ceramics, The University of Alabama

As a recent graduate and current ceramics instructor at The University of Alabama, I have a unique perspective of what it is like to live and work here. As a grad student, I had access to materials and space to push my work. While in the studio, I had the agency and space to take risks and experiment with different materials. Being able to utilize what’s in the mixing and glaze labs, as well as personal firings, was crucial in my growth as an artist. Another vital aspect to me as a grad student was funding. UA not only offered a tuition waiver and stipend, but there were many funding opportunities available for travel, workshops, equipment, and career development. Now that I am an instructor, I try to provide the same environment that I needed when I was a student. Faculty, grads, and undergrads work as a team to accomplish both shared and individual goals. We understand that positivity and camaraderie are important to uphold in a shared space.

Alumni Ceramic Work

Dig Into Pottery-Making at UA Art Camp in June

High school students who want to learn real pottery-making skills will get their chance at UA Art Camp in June. Assistant Professor Wade MacDonald and MFA alumnus Parker Hunt will

Nine BFA Studio Art Majors Exhibit Thesis Work

The University of Alabama Department of Art and Art History presents the 2023 BFA Studio Art Senior Thesis Show, May 3-6, 2023, in the Sella-Granata Art Gallery, Woods Hall on

Two Graduate Students Present MFA Exhibitions April 5

The University of Alabama Department of Art and Art History presents the Master of Fine Arts thesis exhibitions of Parker Hunt and Kole Nichols, April 5-14, 2023, in the Sella-Granata