Business student starts small pottery enterprise

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April 6, 2018
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April 6, 2018

Business student starts small pottery enterprise

Higgins spins a bowl on his wheel in Sargent Art. Photo: Rebecca Snyder

Like most college students who need extra money, senior Seth Higgins works at a part-time job. He runs his own pottery business.

He has created dozens of mugs dripping with color and texture and even coiled-up clay dragons.

Higgins said he has only recently started doing pottery, unlike many artists, some of whom started their creative careers from a young age.

According to him, he started doing ceramics because his adviser suggested he take a ceramics class. “I thought it was cool, just enjoyed carving a mug to drink out of,” Higgins said.

Higgins also said he enjoys creating something other people will enjoy. He does not view his pottery ventures as a job, but as something he does for fun but that also creates revenues on the side.

His favorite part of pottery is the actual process of creating a piece, especially if he is working on a new design. Higgins also said he likes repeating designs, but he will tweak them to create a novel and interesting effect. “It keeps me interested,” Higgins said.

Regarding commissions and the pieces he creates, Higgins is constantly producing new pottery on his own in order to have a wide array of options for clients.

He said clients in the past have often asked him to fuse characteristics of different mugs. “Often [they] commission from that or something I’ve created in the past,” Higgins said.

According to Higgins, his short-term plans are to continue doing pottery. He said he has a pottery shop at home, and he added he would like to try to sell his pieces through different coffee shops if possible.

Higgins also worries if pottery became the source of his livelihood, he would lose much of his drive and the enjoyment he derives from creating pottery.

“I’d lose the fun and joy of creating pieces,” Higgins said. The three-dimensional nature of pottery came naturally to him because he has always excelled in making three-dimensional art forms.

Higgins also talked about the different pottery pieces he produces. He said he mostly uses stoneware, a style of pottery, and he said he has done a little of everything, from cups and saucers to pitchers and tealights, with mugs leading the sales. “[They are] something people use daily,” Higgins said.

Higgins’s classmates also commented on his work and style. Tyler Horkavy, a senior graphic design major, said there was a big learning curve for Seth, as it took him a while to master working with clay.

“I think it’s inspired by an oriental type of design,” Horkavy said. According to him, the textures and shapes of his pieces seem to be inspired by far Eastern art. “He’s shown a lot of improvement,” Horkavy said.

Cristiana Goldfuss, a sophomore studio art major, said Higgins’s pottery has very good forms and is very organic. According to her, dragon imagery is a very distinct characteristic of Higgins’s pottery. Goldfuss also said his style overall is very distinct.“A lot of people really like it because it’s very consistent,” Goldfuss said.

Abigail Leonard, who is also a sophomore studio art major, said Higgins has progressed very much along the way. “His forms have become more aesthetically pleasing,” Leonard said. According to her, Higgins helps other students who need extra help, and he also stays later than usual to ensure the pottery studio is cleaned up.

April Schwingle, member of the art and design faculty who taught Higgins in her ceramics courses, said Higgins has fully incorporated the skills he received in her pottery  courses.

“Seth has been an excellent student. He has taken the techniques and skill that he was taught in early semesters of ceramics and fully absorbed them,” Schwingle said. “Seth’s forms are now more controlled, distinct, and creative.”

Schwingle said Higgins has an attitude of service and a passion for ceremics.

“Seth has a desire to serve others; he helps almost everyone in the ceramics room. He has also read most every book in our ceramics library.”