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Wednesday July 06, 2022

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Meet Amy Evans
January 24, 2022

Amy Evans fell in love with clay and everything dirt related while spending summers on her grandparents’ farm in Indiana. That doesn’t mean she immediately began creating beautiful vases or bowls. 

“I did not touch a kiln until college,” Evans said. “And my first experience wasn’t planned. I was teaching metalsmithing as a camp counselor in Maine. The camp needed someone to teach ceramics and the job came to me.” 
She enrolled in a ceramics class that fall and found it to be her passion. She earned her B.F.A. in design from the University of North Texas and her M.F.A. in ceramics from Eastern Carolina University. Her work is now displayed and sold throughout the country. She has been a resident artist at the Appalachian Center of Craft, the Morean Center for Clay, and the Watershed Center for Ceramic Arts. 

Evans came to East Tennessee when her husband, Chuck, took a job at the Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts in Gatlinburg. She served as an adjunct for Walters State before becoming a full-time instructor in 2005. She is now a full professor and head of the art program. 

“I chose pottery as a vehicle for self-expression as an artist. I found joy and meaning in making objects that weave into our daily lives,” Evans said.

The glazing process, she said,  is more complicated – and far more fun – than most people realize. 

“Glazing involves chemistry and physics,” Evans said. “You sometimes feel like a mad scientist creating a color. The result is not hard to predict once you know the science. Different clays, metal oxides, and glass formers have a variety of properties that you can manipulate by combining specific ingredients at different ratios. You learn to predict the effect the heat will have on these elements to achieve a variety of glaze surfaces and colors.”

Walters State’s greatest strengths, according to Evans, are small classes and faculty that are invested in seeing students succeed. 

“As a teacher, I have the opportunity to know students, know their goals and understand their challenges. Studio art courses naturally create an environment where students feel free to talk about a variety of subjects while engaging in the creative process. ”

Evans constantly seeks ways to better serve her students. She credits a professional development opportunity at the Smithsonians National Portrait Gallery with the creative approaches utilized in introducing students to art history and art appreciation courses at the college. 

“When I present art, I start with prompts that help students develop ideas about the artwork,” Evans said. “I want them to form their impressions before I provide the historical or artistic narrative. Their ideas about the artworks are valid and as important as the artworks original intent.” 

Evans is an expert in time management. In addition to her duties at Walters State, she has a home studio and two incredibly special projects – her sons, Eli and Finn.