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About Jess

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  • Birthday 04/10/1973

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About Me

I have been an artist for the last 22 years. In 1991 attended Hallmark Institute of Photography in MA. Then worked as a freelance photographer for a few years. I wanted to return to college but did not have the funds so I joined the US Air Force in 1995. I served active duty during Desert Storm/Desert Shield doing intelligence work/imagery analyst/photography and deployed to the Mid-east.


In 2003 I left the military and attended the University of North Carolina Wilmington. My plan was to get a degree in a field I could make a living at but in my second year I took a ceramics course and it change my life. I switched my major from Anthropology to Studio Art. I had two wonderful ceramic professors, Aaron Wilcox and Vicky Smith, who were demanding but supportive. I learned all aspect of ceramics from clay and glaze formulation, kiln building, wood/salt/gas firing, throwing(kick wheel), handbuilding and so on.


After finishing my Bachelor's I moved to Vermont. I opened my ceramic studio intent on making a living as a studio potter. I build my gas kiln and got to work. I over the next five years I spent 40-60 hours a week working in the studio and my weekends at shows or fairs and teaching when I could. This schedule began to wear me down and I felt I was losing the love I had for working in clay. I knew I had to do something, I wanted to be able to teach at the college level and I felt that my work was beginning to stagnate so I enrolled in graduate school at the Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University.


The program I am in is low-residency which is good and bad. There is no technical hands on training so I must do all of that on my own. in the last two years I have attended workshops by Val Cushing, Bill Van Gilder, Steven Hill and Martha Russo. All have amazing and informative. My grad program stresses critical theory reading and writing (I have a five page paper due every month!) I am very interested in the idea of what make work art or craft and the issues of material and function. I have been exploring surface decorating techniques and incorporating methods from other disciplines into ceramics. I am now finishing my MFA and am in the middle of writing my thesis and creating work for my graduate exhibition. I am looking forward graduating in June and seeing what comes next.


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