Otterbein Senior Molds her Future in the Arts through Ceramics
Posted Oct 26, 2021
By Payton Kaufman ’24
Senior visual arts major Alaina Reher began her college studies with a much different track: marketing and graphic design. With the help of pre-existing art connections, Reher decided art was the route she wanted to pursue.
Thanks to a few art classes she took freshman year and a love for art she had since high school, Reher made the jump to her new department the following year.
“I had connections in the Department of Art that helped me decide that art education was a good path for me,” Reher said. “Art education allows me to teach in the future if I’d like or use my art background in different areas.”
In her third year with the Department of Art, Reher recognizes the assistance her professors have given her throughout her experience. The professors, Reher said, provide more than “textbook knowledge,” because of their experience working in different art fields.
“The art professors want us to feel that we are seen and that we have a place to show our art,” Reher said. “Without the opportunity to show our art I don’t know that I would have the confidence that I do as an artist.”
Professor Jim Bowling met Reher in a first-year 3D design course. He noticed her ability and encouraged her to look into ceramics.
“The role of any professor is to help a student identify their own strengths and own voice,” Bowling said. “Then, it’s finding out how to support that voice and challenge that voice to grow.”
A combination of Reher’s confidence and the pandemic led her to start her own business selling ceramic pieces. When remote learning took away her opportunity for independent study, Reher launched an Etsy shop selling mugs, bowls, and more.
“I was able to start a ceramics studio in my garage based off of the things my professors had taught me,” Reher said. “I did some independent research, too, on the sales side of the business.”
Art-focused electives are available to all students, no matter what their current skill-levels are, Reher said. According to Bowling, art develops more than technical skills.
“It’s not just about learning to be an artist, it’s about learning to be a creative,” Bowling said. “That student, as a creative, can be anything they want to.”
Learn more about the Department of Art.
Check out Reher’s Etsy shop.