Alumni Spotlight: Travis Winters

Travis Winters graduated with his MFA in Ceramics from Edinboro in 2013. Since graduating, he has been in a two year position as an Artist in Residence at the Odyssey Center for the Ceramics Arts in Asheville, NC. This position allows him to produce his own work and teach a number of classes. While living in Asheville, he has been working for Highwater Clays in their testing department too. Also, in the fall of 2015 Winters will be completing a short term residency at the Redlodge Clay Center in Redlodge, MT.

His work investigates preconceived notions that surround different domesticated animals. In his artist statement he says, " The tactile quality of clay allows me to sculpt my figures to appear soft and fleshy, although they are very hard and dense. By stimulating one’s sense of touch, I invite the viewer to investigate the animal closer, regardless of their sensitivity towards that species. This invitation can either persuade one to view the animal as adorable and lovable, or grotesque and repulsive." Winters models these animals with exaggerated folds and wrinkles to create a visceral response in his work.

Winters has been juried into several national shows in 2014. Some of these exhibitions include: Clay? V at the Kirkland Arts Center in Kirkland, WA, Jurors: Doug Jeck, Jamie Walker, and Akio Takamori; Playdate at The Ceramics Center in Cedar Rapids, IA, Jurors: resident artists; Workhouse Clay National at the Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton, VA, Juror: Richard Notkin; History in the Making XIII at the Fire House Gallery in Rochester, NY, Juror: Fred Herbst; and Looking At Ourselves: A Contemporary Figure Exhibition at Baltimore Clay Works, Juror: Adrian Arleo.

Check out more of Travis Winters artwork at

Alumni Spotlight: Derek Decker

Derek Decker graduated from Edinboro University in 2012, with his M.F.A. in Ceramics.  Since graduating he has been teaching at IPFW (Indiana University-Purdue University at Fort Wayne), with a short stint last Semester at University of Saint Francis, also in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  Now, he is back at IPFW, working as a lecturer for the Department of Fine Arts.  

While in these positions he has had the opportunities to teach Design Fundamentals 1, Mold Making and Slip Casting, Drawing for Non-Majors, Advanced Sculpture, Advanced Ceramics, and 3D Design Fundamentals.

Currently at IPFW, he is a liaison for the Fine Arts Department in regards to a program called "Collegiate Connection".  This program offers college level courses in Art for area high school students, which is also for dual credit through IPFW.  Derek makes appointments with those area high schools that are offering the Art courses. He is responsible for observing the schools, as well as their students to make sure the university standards are being met, in regards to both the quality of instruction and quality of student work.  

Derek also serves on an Artist Panel for ArtLink, which is a contemporary art gallery in Fort Wayne.  He acts as a juror and helps determine what exhibitions and work will be presented to the public. Last spring, he was asked to be a juror for the 3-D in the Scholastic Achievement Awards for the Region, held at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art.

His opportunities at IPFW and the University of Saint Francis have allowed him to continue making his work. He has also set up a studio at home and continues to exhibit his work regionally and nationally.

In the last two years Derek has participated in eight shows, five of which were national exhibitions.  This past year he was juried into the 20th San Angelo National Ceramic Competition, in San Angelo, Texas; Regional Impact: Works from Regional Campus Faculties in Richmond, Indiana; National Craft Exhibition, at ArtLink in Fort Wayne, Indiana; and Dereliction/Reanimate, a Juried Exhibition at Buckham Gallery in Flint, Michigan.

"Currently I am trying to finish up three new pieces.  With teaching it's always hard finding the time around the busy schedule of daily life, but that's what graduate school prepared me so well for," said Derek.

Check out more of Derek's work at: