Practice Makes Pottery

Scroll this

From her freshman art classes to her ceramics-centered senior thesis, Maggie Wilson’s time at Cairn has been defined by studying the arts. The countless hours she has spent in the studio have shaped who she is as a student and an artist. Maggie was drawn to the University for its biblical foundation, but discovered her passion for ceramics after a particularly grueling year at the wheel.

“I was frustrated my freshman year because I was very bad at it,” Maggie laughed. “That is pretty normal. A lot of people typically have a very difficult time centering, which is the most basic skill in throwing on the wheel.” Maggie overcame her frustration with the wheel by dedicating every Saturday to improving her skills. These hours of practice helped Maggie discover her passion for ceramics and the process of creating something unique.

Her dedication paid off. Maggie was selected at the beginning of her sophomore year to participate in the University’s first ceramics apprenticeship. In this apprenticeship, Maggie, her ceramics professor Andrea Fiori, and a few other students create University-branded mugs to sell in the campus store. With three years of mug making under her belt, Maggie is the veteran student-artist in the apprenticeship. She believes that her time in the program has taught her how to incorporate uniformity in her ceramics.

Maggie’s faith plays a significant role in her work—whether she is creating a mug for the campus store or a pitcher for her senior thesis. “There’s a lot of imagery that relates to our faith when it comes to clay,” she explains. “God is like a potter. He forms us; it’s very intimate and personal. There are times where he crushes us to make us into something better—to redeem us.” Creating her own vessels on the wheel has helped Maggie understand this imagery on a deeper level, both as an artist and a person of faith.

Maggie aspires to open her own ceramics studio but knows that she has years of dedication and practice ahead of her. For now, as she puts the finishing touches on her thesis and prepares to graduate in December, Maggie demonstrates that beauty can emerge from something as simple as
clay with a little creativity—and a lot of practice.

Michaela Gay ’20 is an intern in the Communications & Marketing department and an English and history major at Cairn University. She can be reached at