A post-baccalaureate ceramics student concludes her first year with a personal exhibition

Making pottery was just a fun and creative outlet for Susie Meskill until she found a friend and mentor who made a living working with clay. After years of working full time while peddling wares made with a borrowed wheel and kiln and also teaching elementary clay classes on the side, Meskill decided it was high time to figure out how his hobby could become his career.

Having studied psychology in undergraduate school, Meskill lacked the formal artistic training that other aspiring professional potters might have and needed not only the skills but also guidance on her chosen path. . Applying for a post-baccalaureate experience seemed the most logical step, and through a ceramics website, Meskill learned that Western New Mexico University offered one that suited his tastes and needs. She applied and was accepted to study with WNMU Assistant Professor of Ceramics, Courtney Michaud. She is the first artist to do a post-baccalaureate in ceramics at WNMU.

Since debuting at WNMU last fall, Meskill has gained a better understanding of the art form as a whole, learned to critique and describe his work, and discovered what it takes to get into graduate school. of ceramics while strengthening his skills and his curriculum vitae.

“Courtney has a good understanding of what’s happening on the court right now. It was really helpful,” Meskill said. “We have a weekly meeting, so the responsibility has been great. We talk about what I do, what I struggle with, ideas I can develop.

Attending classes and spending time in the studio have both been good for Meskill. “There are so many different components that go into making a pot that I hadn’t considered before,” she said. “I had never mixed my own clay or glazes. Last semester, a few other advanced students and I lit the oven all by ourselves. This opened up new possibilities. »

After serving as a teaching assistant for Michaud’s beginner clay class this spring, Meskill led a hand-building workshop with students and community members. “Everyone had to make a mug or a catch-all dish. I baked and glazed them for everyone. It was a fun and free event that brought together different people from different fields to get creative,” she said. “Witnessing Courtney’s process showed me that teaching is so much more than demonstrating how to make a bowl. It’s about providing emotional support and really seeing students where they are.

Meskill prepared for a solo exhibition downtown during the Silver City CLAY Festival. “I got to see what happens in the exhibition of all my work in one room and all the different elements of a show,” she said. Another eye-opening experience is assisting guest artist Jamie Bates Sloan for the festival headlining workshop on campus.

Meskill just signed for a second year at WNMU. “I hope to be a teaching assistant again and build a portfolio to apply for graduate school,” she said.

But before the start of the fall semester, she will attend a two-week wheel throwing workshop at the prestigious Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Maine. Meskill received a full scholarship to attend.

“I hope to be a teaching assistant again and build a portfolio to apply for graduate school,” she said.

About Post-Baccalaureate in Ceramics at WNMU
Post-baccalaureate students at Western New Mexico University are provided with workspace and access to ceramics facilities in exchange for weekly labor to help with the ceramics program and the operation of the studio. Each student will participate in advanced ceramics classes and receive a weekly studio visit with teachers. Serving as a mentor for undergraduate students in an academic environment without a graduate program, post-baccalaureate students are held to high expectations and receive individualized attention. This opportunity is tuition-free and requires a strong work ethic, ambition, and dedication. The duration of the post-baccalaureate coincides with the university academic year with the possibility of flexibility according to the needs and preferences of each. Existing post-baccalaureate students can apply for a second year.

The WNMU campus is near the Gila National Forest in Silver City, New Mexico. Each summer, the city and university host a CLAY Festival that features workshops led by some of the most influential makers in our field. The area’s Mimbres heritage also offers students early access to scholarship in historic ceramics, and the WNMU Museum has one of the largest collections of Mimbres pottery in the world.

It is a growing program that gives post-baccalaureate students the space and support to move forward.

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