Heather Hillard

Heather Hillard

Heather Hillard

HEATHER HILLARD, ceramics
2017/18 Artist in Residence


I have been playing with clay since I was young, however, I only started seriously pursuing my desire to become a sculptor two years ago. As a nature lover passionate about marine conservation, I pursued a career as a marine biologist for almost 10 years. I completed a bachelors of science in biology at The College of William and Mary and a masters of science in biology from California State University, Northridge, during which I studied the effects of climate change on coral reefs and kelp forests. However, throughout my high school, college and post college days, I kept ceramics as a hobby and studied under Jerry Mahle, Marlene Jack, Ed Higa and Rochelle Lum.

At the end of 2016, I decided to switch careers from marine ecology and conservation to art. Since then, I have worked with Julie Anderson in her studio in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, and I completed a year as a post-baccalaureate student under Scott Parady at Sacramento State University.

My love of wildlife and my fascination with studying animals in their environment has become the greatest sources of inspiration for my art. Art and ecology are one and the same to me; both are the study of animals in their environment. I seek to build sculptures that explore the intricate and delicate relationships between humans and nature. In general, I tend to work in two modes: 1) conceptually and 2) abstractly. While working conceptually, I focus on an environmental issue that I am familiar with and how I can confront the issue in my artwork. When working abstractly, I will let my intuition and inspiration from nature guide my hands. I enjoy responding to the clay and letting the pieces take on a life of their own. My obsession with coral textures and other textures found in nature usually find their way into these biomorphic sculptures.

In trying to communicate complex relationships between humans and nature, I ultimately seek to balance realism with abstraction and inspire critical thought about the environment. I hope to not only bring a little bit of the underwater world to the public but also dissolve the communication barrier between scientists and society.


Visit Heather Hillard's website