Updated: Dec 1, 2018
Meet Zoe Gross, one of the latest additions to the TXRX team. Zoe is a recent graduate from the Rhode Island School of Design where she received her Master degree in Ceramics. She moved to Houston to complete an artist residency at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft. It wasn’t long before her passion for ceramics led her to an open position as a ceramics instructor at TXRX. With a resume stretching back to her pre-teens, Zoe combines her diverse experiences with an enthusiastic vigor for teaching.
How did you get connected with TXRX?
I recently moved to Houston because I’m one of the new resident artists at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft. When I learned I would be moving to Houston I began searching for teaching opportunities, and one of the previous resident artists mentioned that TXRX was looking for a new ceramics instructor.
How did you get your start in ceramics?
I’ve been working in clay for most of my life, although I didn’t take it seriously until I decided to become an art major during my undergraduate education. I first began taking ceramic classes after school at a small community arts center when I was about 11, and when I was 15 I started working part time at the same studio. I assisted my teachers with their classes and helped the ceramics studio run smoothly by firing kilns, mixing glazes, and keeping things tidy. After college I taught ceramics full time until I decided to return to school to get my Master’s degree.
I arrived at the decision to pursue art professionally sometime during my time in undergrad at Skidmore College. The decision felt natural, and since then I’ve been working on advancing my career both as a professional artist and an arts educator.
What can students expect from a ceramics course with you?
The ceramics classes at TXRX are designed to introduce students to the basic ceramics skills they’ll need to continue making artwork independently as a member. I teach hand building techniques such as pinching, coiling, and slab building, as well as techniques in glazing. The wonderful thing about our intro classes is that these techniques are so versatile and applicable to many styles of artwork. They are the same techniques professional ceramic artists use in their artwork, just scaled up in complexity.
I value meeting students at their individual skill level and then tailoring the class to what they want to learn. It’s important to treat people as individuals with different goals and objectives for their creative pursuits. I try to cultivate a relaxed and respectful environment where students can be themselves and feel comfortable trying new things.
Can you tell me a bit about the work you’re doing at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft?
Right now at my residency I’m working on a series of ceramic sculptures that grew out of the work I made for my thesis in graduate school. They are highly detailed sculptures of abstracted forms that reference biology, anatomy, and duality. Through this body of work I’m exploring concepts of femininity, vulnerability, craft history and ornament.
One of my favorite things about my new residency is the freedom I have to experiment with new materials and ideas. In addition to my ceramic sculptures I’m also creating a new series of paper collages and mixed media sculptures. After focusing so fully on ceramics in graduate school it is exciting to create in different mediums that suggest new creative possibilities.
Part of my artist residency is that my studio is open to the public two days a week. I love the chance to interact with our visitors and hear their input on my artwork. My residency is for 9 months, and my studio is open on Thursdays and Saturdays if anybody would like to come by to visit!
Is there anything else that you’d like people to know about you and the impact you aim to have at TXRX?
TXRX serves a unique role in the Houston community because it connects people with tools, space, and equipment that otherwise they would not have access too. Recently I taught ceramics classes for our Maker2Market program, which is an after school program for high school students. I felt this class was so rewarding for both the students and myself because it was a totally new experience for the students who had never used clay before. While I’m at TXRX I look forward to continuing to introduce our students to new creative processes and ways of thinking three-dimensionally through clay. I’m very happy to be a part of this community where I can help support makers and creatives.
To learn more about more about Zoe’s courses visit – our classes page.