From Student to Teacher

As the Senior Kiln Specialist at the #1 ranked ceramics school in the country, Shawn Murrey ’02, uses his talents to teach the ceramic process to his students. He serves as a Technical Specialist and an Adjunct Professor at Alfred University – one of his alma maters and the school he fell in love with on a field trip over 16 years ago.

In addition to teaching, he maintains an art practice in his studio at Alfred University. Shawn’s current project is a group of ceramic sculptures that are set to be displayed in a group exhibition at the Scarab Club Gallery in Detroit.

Shawn has exhibited his artwork in venues around the country, including the Cross Mackenzie Gallery in Washington, D.C. and The Clay Studio in Philadelphia. ­­­­­­­­­­In May 2016, The Clay Studio invited Shawn to display his work for their National Showcase, which “showcases the best contemporary ceramic art being made in the United States,” according to Jurors Elisabeth R. Argo, Associate Curator of Contemporary Craft at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Jennifer Zwilling, Curator at the Clay Studio. His artwork is also displayed internationally.

As a graduate student Shawn’s artwork was displayed at the College for Creative Arts in Farnham, England as part of an international ceramics conference. He also had two sculptures showcased at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing, China.

The Howard, N.Y. native was always interested in ceramics. He brought an affinity for airbrushing to Corning, but soon began to explore other mediums, such as drawing and painting, photography and ceramics.

Shawn found a home in the ceramics studio with SUNY Corning Community College Professor Fred Herbst.

He focused mainly on Ceramic Arts, spending most of this time constructing large scale clay vessels on the pottery wheel that were influenced by Korean and Japanese ceramics from the 15th to the 18th centuries.

Shawn received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and began to work as the Facility Coordinator for the Ceramics Studio at the Corning Museum of Glass. During this time, he constructed a ceramic kiln, which he used to build his portfolio to apply to the graduate program at Alfred University.

“During my time at Alfred University I learned a lot about industrial kiln technologies,” said Shawn. “I used that knowledge and constructed a 65-cubic-foot gas-fired ceramic kiln and fired large ceramic vessels inspired by the landscapes of Western New York.”

Shawn obtained his Masters of Fine Arts degree from Alfred University in 2008. He began to take notice of the undergraduate students and their motivation to be successful. This inspired Shawn to become an Adjunct Professor. 

“The best part about teaching Alfred University students is that I am continually inspired by how talented they are,” said Shawn. “Working with them is really gratifying.”