Stacy Larson, a first-year graduate student from Cold Spring, Minnesota, uses sensory perception to capture the beauty of nature in her artwork.

Larson’s artwork is on display at Taylor Books' WVU Graduate Ceramics Exhibition in Charleston, West Virginia. She said audiences reconnect with nature by engaging with the artwork in a personal and meaningful way.

“I like to live by the words ‘notice what you notice’ because I think people nowadays need to engage more in their surroundings instead of being stuck on their phone,” Larson said. “I think if you're making pottery, you can help accomplish that.”

Stacy Larson headshot

Stacy Larson, WVU ceramics student

Larson’s passion for ceramics began in high school, which led her to study ceramics and jewelry during her undergraduate years. 

“I really enjoy the tacticallity of ceramics — I really love functional pottery — where people can engage with it,” Larson said. “It's unlike any other art medium.”

Just finishing the first semester of the three year ceramics MFA program, Larson said WVU has allowed her to find her path as an artist.

Art and design graduate students work in a personal studio setting, which allows them to explore different art pathways like ceramics, sculpture and printmaking.

Next spring, Larson plans to study abroad in Jingdezhen, China, where she'll work with some of the city's most prominent ceramics artists. The city has a long history of producing and distributing ceramics of varying styles throughout the world.

“I am going to school to really figure out who I am as an artist and why I make what I make,” Larson said. “It is really great having a group of peers who are also dedicated to ceramics and dedicated to the field and a bunch of faculty that are devoted to you as a student and helping you get to where you want to be.”

Associate professors Shoji Satake and Robert Moore, Larson said, offer a unique perspective and wisdom to the ceramics program at WVU.

Jennifer Allen, who used to be faculty member for the WVU ceramics program, has also created a positive impact on ceramics students. She recently switched over to a full-time studio practice but still takes time to conduct studio visits with students.

“The one thing I love about ceramics is that everybody is so welcoming, and everybody in the ceramics world is so welcoming and engaging — everybody is so willing to share their knowledge," Larson said.

Through her work, Larson aims to teach others the importance of admiring small things in nature.

“In my ceramic work I strive to capture the beauty and emotion I experience in nature’s presence by replicating my perception of these sensuous details,” Larson said in an artist statement.

Her advice to aspiring artists: try a variety of things.

“Don’t focus on one thing until you know that's what you really want to do. Be open to experimenting and really playing around with the material — there are so many options out there," Larson said. "Don’t be afraid to go outside your comfort zone.”