This month’s profile features local artist Meghan Howard. Meghan is exhibiting at the 2014 Columbus Arts Festival, June 6, 7 & 8, as one of 12 local artists who were juried into the Emerging Artist program. Meghan says that her ceramic pieces are grounded on her formal training in architectural engineering. The surface of each piece is embellished with architectural details, images and textures. She combines traditional pottery techniques, such as throwing and glazing, with engineering tools, including 3D computer modeling, to plan and execute her designs.
GCAC: Are you from Columbus? If not, what brought you here?
MH: I’ve been living in Columbus since 2002, when I moved here to take a job after grad school. I grew up in Chapel Hill, North Carolina and still have family in the area.
GCAC: Are you self-taught or do you have a fine arts degree? Where did you study?
MH: I went to Penn State University for my Bachelors and Masters in Architectural Engineering. During my last semester in grad school, a friend and I joined the ceramics studio for something fun to do. I started taking pottery classes at Bareclay when I moved to Columbus. After several years, I realized I liked pottery A LOT more than engineering, quit my job and started Tulane Road Pottery.
GCAC: When did you become interested in ceramics? What attracts you to the medium?
MH: When I started in clay, it was just a fun, messy thing to do. As I learned to throw, I found that I loved to create pieces that would be used every day – to make something pretty prosaic into a thing of beauty.
GCAC: You’ve had success with many smaller art & craft shows in the area. What made you decide to make the leap to do a major arts festival? Has the Emerging Artist program been helpful in preparing for the show?
MH: I’ve been to the Columbus Arts Festival several times since moving to Columbus, and thought that it would be a fun show to do. The Emerging Artist program has been incredibly helpful in preparing us for the weekend and for moving forward in our careers. Everything from how to set up a booth to working with galleries.
GCAC: Tell us about your creative process. What inspires you?
MH: After spending the beginning of my career designing building materials, I developed an obsession with a structure’s details – the curve of a downspout, the delicacy of a window, the geometry of a heating grate. The illustrations on my pottery are inspired by buildings that I have seen while traveling throughout the US, Europe and Asia over the last few years.
GCAC: When did you start Tulane Pottery? How is it working for yourself?
MH: I started Tulane Road Pottery in 2009. I love working for myself — it’s hard, but really a lot of fun. Beyond just making pots in the studio, I’ve had to learn all of the other aspects of running a business — i.e. sales, bookkeeping. It’s been great.
GCAC: You’ll be at the Columbus Arts Festival, June 6-8! We’re excited about all of the local Emerging Artists who will be participating this year. Are there any other shows you’re doing this season where folks can meet you and purchase your work?
MH: I am still sorting out my show schedule for the summer. I will have information on my website, tulaneroad.com in the next few weeks. My pieces are also carried at Wholly Craft in Clintonville, Celebrate Local at Easton, and State & Third, downtown.