Pursuing A Passion

Travis Winters ’06 invites artists from around the country to teach workshops at the Touchstone Center for Crafts- a residential craft school located in the Laurel Highlands area of Pennsylvania.

He recently invited Kensuke Yamada, an artist from Kamakura, Kanagawa, Japan. Kensuke moved to the United States as a foreign exchange student and received his Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Montana. Kensuke is a resident artist at The Clay Studio in Philadelphia, Pa. His sculptures are known for their exaggerated facial expressions. Travis continues to find inspiration for his own art through the artists he invites to Touchstone.

Travis was always interested in art, but wasn’t sure what careers would be available after graduation. An art class with SUNY CCC Visiting Lecturer in Art Alicia Herbst showed Travis that opportunities in art after graduation were available. He switched his major to Arts and Humanities and instantly took notice of the potter’s wheel in the ceramics studio. He knew he needed to learn how to use it and began focusing on functional ceramics.

Travis found a home in the ceramics studio with Professor Fred Herbst. He began participating in the wood-firings and spent his time learning new techniques between classes.

“I thought being an artist meant you had to be a painter or an illustrator,” said Travis. “When I began taking ceramics with Fred I realized that there was more to art than just those mediums.”

Both Alicia and Fred Herbst describe Travis’ work as thoughtful, unique, and always beyond the assignment criteria.

“We immediately knew that Travis had an affinity for making art and the capability to become an artist,” said Fred. “When other students saw his work it helped them expand their own ideas of what art could be.”

While Travis enjoys the technical aspects of creating his artwork, such as how to construct and fire it, his favorite part about ceramics is the individuality of the pieces.

“I really enjoy working on pieces that tell a story and force the viewer to interpret the work with their own personal narratives,” said Travis.

He credits SUNY CCC and its professors for guiding him through the process of discovering his talents. They helped him realize he could pursue the career he truly wanted.

“Without the continued help of Fred and Alicia I would not be where I am today.”