Welcome Ms. Wright!

A look at our new ceramics a teacher
Ms. Wright at work in the clay studio.
Ms. Wright at work in the clay studio.
Courtesy of Emily Wright

Emily Wright is one of the newest additions to our Academy faculty this year. She teaches Ceramics I, Ceramics II, and Advanced Ceramics. She moved to New Mexico just two weeks before school started after finishing graduate school at Penn State University. Despite being apprehensive about our intense summers, so far she likes living in the Land of Enchantment.
Ms. Wright was raised all over the East coast, but she calls Vermont home since her family settled in Brattleboro at the southernmost tip of Vermont. As a child, she was “kind of a crafty little kid who loved to make art.” Growing up, Ms. Wright thought she wanted to be a writer or an artist. She learned to read quite young and “loved books where you could escape into another world.” Just before high school, she started taking pottery classes. She was inspired by Bonnie Sterns, her first pottery teacher, to pursue teaching and ceramics. Ms. Wright says, “The reason she’s such an inspiration is that she’s a great artist but she’s also someone who really cares about her students. [She] made me feel like I could be myself there [in class]. I felt comfortable there. I felt supported by her, but she also really pushed me to be a better version of myself. If I could be a teacher like her, I’d be doing a good job.”
Ms. Wright graduated from Alfred University in upstate New York in 2017, and then continued on to graduate school at Penn State University in Pennsylvania. As a full-time graduate student, she was employed by the graduate program to teach undergraduate classes, so even as a student she was a teacher. Although her job here at Academy is her first full-time ceramics teaching job, Ms. Wright says, “I’ve been working as a teacher more broadly for around seven years.” In high school, she taught small children how to work with clay while still learning herself. As an undergraduate student, she worked as a daycare teacher during the summers and as a Montessori teacher for first to third graders. Ms. Wright knew she liked teaching, and she had a passion for ceramics. She says, “I want those things to become one thing. I want to have the teaching part and the ceramics part become the same part.”
This year, Ms. Wright is excited about her students’ projects of making large sculptures of animals in her Ceramics I class. She is “really inspired by how fearless they are as creators.” Her favorite part of teaching ceramics is seeing students find the immediate joy of working with clay. She says, “That moment of discovery for a student reminds me of that same moment for myself.” She “would like [her students] to remember that [she] encouraged them to make the best art they could make, but also pushed them to make the best art they could make.”
In her free time, Ms. Wright obviously likes to make things with clay, but she has also recently taken up quilting with old donated clothes. She feels like “[she’s] just settling in and starting to feel like [she] has a groove” here at Academy. To her younger self, Ms. Wright would say “that I should be less afraid because as I’ve moved down the path it becomes clearer and clearer that it was where I was supposed to go.” Ms. Wright continues to follow her passion of creating things with clay while teaching students here, and maybe helping them find their own passion. Ms. Wright says, “I know I love to make stuff out of clay; how do I do this as much as possible for my whole life?”

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