Faith Connor ’16 (CVPA) began working with ceramics in her sophomore year of high school as a way to cope with symptoms of anxiety and depression. “It was in the ceramics studio that I found I was able to control my anxiety.” Since then, she has turned it into her career, built on a foundation she gained at UMassD and the College of Visual and Performing Arts.
As a student at UMass Dartmouth, Connor was introduced to the people, techniques, and tools that she continues to rely on as her career in ceramics evolves today. “UMassD provided me with a background in technical and academic knowledge that helped me to refine my personal voice as an artist and taught me how to take my ideas and create something tangible from it. On campus, I was able to surround myself with a support system of my peers who I still seek out even as an alumna for opinions and advice.” She cites Professor James Lawton as instrumental as a mentor in college and beyond. “I still reach out to him whenever I need advice and I know he’ll do whatever he can to help. He always made time for me and many other students.”
Scholarships were important to Connor, making college affordable for her and opening up opportunities to learn and expand her network of artists. “Scholarships helped to lift the financial weight that I am now working towards paying off with my student loans. A scholarship from the ceramics department to attend a wood firing workshop furthered my love of that process. In fact, it’s how I fire my work today.”
The multidisciplinary approach to art and design in the CVPA allowed Connor to explore other methods and fields, an experience that has been essential to developing her craft. This is advice she often gives to current CVPA students: “Take advantage of all the different studios you have access to. Explore different media and techniques that are around you while you’re at school. Learn how to use different studios tools and materials, work with different people and see how they create.”
Following her graduation, Connor participated in a six-week residency program in Skælskør, Denmark, with other recent ceramics graduates from all over the world. She is currently in her second year of a residency at the Worcester Center for Crafts in Massachusetts, teaching classes in addition to making work of her own. Her work is sold in various galleries and stores around New England. She is organizing a group exhibition other artists in residence at the Worcester Center for Crafts and hopes to explore the ceramics community outside of Massachusetts.
For a look at her work in Denmark, as well as her current ceramics work, go to: faithconnorporcelain.com.