Alumni Artists-In-Residence

Celia Butler

Mixed-Media Artist

Celia Butler makes work about adornment and the mediated fantasy world of feminine beauty. To her, adornment speaks about value, importance, and cultural roles.

The valueless, cheap substance of sugar is extremely important to Celia’s work. She uses a technique called sugar pulling to sculpt candy bows as a means to comment on the worth and importance associated with adornment and, more importantly, the idealized female. Her use of the bow has a direct reference to the value of objects and to femininity, just as it signifies the importance of an object through its role as an embellishment of a gift. Celia transfers that same idea of objectification, specialness, and female value to the body. Her most current work combines pulled-sugar objects with photographs that directly reference fashion media.

Celia holds an MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art and a BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute. She has received a Creative Promise Award from the Surface Design Association as well as the Susan Lordi and Dennis Marker Award for Excellence in Fiber. Recently, she was a finalist for the Mercedes-Benz Emerging Artist Award and currently has work on loan to the company.

Celia Butler, Sugar Gazing, 2011. C print. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Jamie Diaz

Ceramic Artist

Jamie Diaz creates whimsical and functional ceramic objects, such as pots, cups, and cocktail sets. Originally from El Paso, TX, Jamie grew up mostly in Houston, studying photography, drawing, and painting during high school. However, during college, she discovered the endless possibilities of ceramics, which lead to an entirely new avenue of expression and creativity.

Diaz’s current work is inspired by her ideas about the human need for attachment and connection. The way in which her pots are placed—interacting with one another in a designated space—acts as a mode of engagement with the observer and eventual user. “The size of the pot, and the number of cups or pieces intended to be used, evokes a sense of intimacy and community…while the experience in using handmade pottery can be individual, personal, and sometimes secluded, the desire to share and connect with a single other person or group of people is what allows us to feel that sense of belonging. That sense of belonging and intimacy is what I am trying to express and articulate through my work in clay.”

All of Diaz’s forms begin on the wheel and are later altered with the incorporation of slabs. She works with a porcelain clay body, which is glazed with wood ash glazes and fired in a soda kiln to cone 10. During her brief residency at HCCC, she plans to explore creating different surfaces for her work and incorporating clay bodies with contrasting richness and color. She also plans to experiment with leaving parts of her pieces unglazed, or raw, giving the user a variety of textures and new aesthetic qualities.

Diaz holds a BFA in Ceramics from the University of North Texas and has exhibited her work in several local and regional shows.

Jamie Diaz, Cocktail Set w/pillow #1, 2010. Wheel thrown and altered porcelain/ soda fired. Photo by Jamie Diaz.

Nathan Dube


Nathan Dube is a metalsmith whose work explores his interest in childhood and play by exploring the relationship among humor, aggression, masculinity, and how contemporary adult-male identity is constructed in American culture.

Nathan makes eccentric toys, which comment on the absurd lengths men will sometimes go in order to recapture their youth and define their identity. His current work uses characters from movies and popular culture, along with meticulously crafted spit-wad shooters, to highlight the differences between the way masculinity is and has been represented to past and current generations.

Originally from Austin, Texas, Nathan grew up mainly in Klein, outside of Houston. He holds a MFA from Kent State University and a BFA from the University of Texas at Austin. His work has been exhibited in both national and international venues, including a solo show at the National Ornamental Metal Museum in Memphis, Tennessee. He will be at HCCC through August of 2012. For more information, please visit

Left, from top to bottom: Nathan Dube, photo courtesy the artist. Nathan Dube, "POW!" Silver, paper, copper, paint, gunpowder. 15cm x 7cm x 14cm, 2011. POW! Is an explosive powered spit-wad shooter. Photo by the artist.

Marcia Erickson

Ceramic Artist

Marcia Erickson is a ceramist who grew up in the Clear Lake area of Houston in the time of moon landings and a climate of extreme excitement and optimism. She attended University of Houston, where she was an elite athlete in volleyball, studied computer science and mathematics, and attained a BS in Math. Marcia spent a decade as a computer programmer during the dot-com boom before seeking out art as an avenue of expression and finding a wonderful and vibrant community. She studied drawing, watercolor and art history at LoneStar College and was drawn to ceramics because of its technical challenges and the tactile nature of the medium.

Marcia enjoys constructing functional pieces of deeply textured slabs mixed with offbeat elements: “The concepts of my work in clay are always derived from my immersion in and reaction to my everyday environment. I thrive on creating work with a measure of spontaneity. My recent work features ceramic chains. They are symbolic of issues of security and of limited access.”

During her residency, she hopes to revisit and refine her functional pieces, using stamps, texture and sgraffito. She also plans to continue her research in addressing the challenging technical issues of mid-range oxidation firing, having come to deeply appreciate the labor-intensive process of wood-firing and its occasional brilliant results.

Marcia studied ceramics with several excellent professors in the Houston area, including former HCCC resident artists, Lotus Witt Bermudez and Jeff Forster. (She is primarily influenced by Robby Wood and Bermudez, who were former students of Huey Beckham.) Marcia volunteers with ClayHouston and Empty Bowls Houston and frequently conducts artist demonstrations at events around town. Her work has been exhibited in numerous local, regional and national galleries.

Marcia Erickson, Single Flask, 2010. Fired at cone ten reduction and made with textured slabs and a thrown neck, ceramic chains, and glazed with pink shino and marcia's rutile purple. Photo by the artist.

Paula Haymond


Paula Haymond is a woodturner who combines pyrography (wood burning), wood piercing (lacework), wood carving, acrylic paints, and metals to create three-dimensional objects of art. She seeks to explore the relationships among color, imagination, form and texture to express the wonder she so often found in the woods, lakes and open pastoral scenes of her native Indiana.

Paula’s work begins with the choice of wood that is best suited for thin wall turning: less than 1/16th inch finished thickness. The shapes are turned and hollowed on the lathe in preparation for surface enhancement and embellishment. Her designs are based on her own photographs of patterns, botanicals, insects, birds and animals, all of which create opportunities for storytelling. Her works feature intricate patterns in lacework on wood, as well as realistic portrayals of nature through air-brush painting and wood burning.

Paula is a member of the Gulf Coast Woodturners Association and has taught classes in wood turning, piercing and embellishing at local workshops and regional symposia. She has been accepted to be a mentor for the Virginia Symposium of Woodturners in 2012. Paula has exhibited at HCCC and several regional and national venues. She holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Butler University and a Doctor of Education from Indiana University. She has lived in Houston since 1982, when she established her private practice as a licensed psychologist: Haymond, Rappaport & Associates, P.C.

Paula will be with HCCC through May of 2012. During her residency, she hopes to document her experiences and submit them to the American Association of Woodturners magazine for publication.

Left, from top to bottom: Woodturner Paula Haymond in her studio at HCCC. Photo by HCCC. Paula Haymond. "Sea Creatures." Texas ebony, turned, carved, pierced and textured. 2012. Photo by HCCC.


Leslie Shershow


Leslie Shershow grew up in the small town of Belfast, Maine. After graduating from the Massachusetts College of Art with a BFA in metals, she stayed in the Boston area to further develop her jewelry at her studio in Somerville, MA, exhibiting her work in various group shows around the country. Prior to joining HCCC as an artist-in-residence, she taught metalsmithing to children and adults in various art centers and colleges in the Boston area and managed the metalshop at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts for several years.

Leslie’s work is an exploration of man’s complex relationship with objects, specifically the ownership and attainment of things. Using silver, copper, and other non-ferrous metals, she fabricates the structure of her pieces, often employing a hydraulic press to create three-dimensional forms. She frequently uses acrylic to create a backing or substrate for the metal parts, and this backing often acts as a window into the structure of the piece. By mimicking the quilted patterns from designer handbags and luxury-car upholstery, she creates a covetable object—one that signifies status or decadence. Leslie will be at HCCC through February of 2012. For more information, visit

Leslie Shershow, "White Diamond Necklace." Copper, brass, silver, acrylic, auto paint. 2011. Photo by Leslie Shershow.

Melissa Walter

Melissa Walter

Metal, Fiber

Melissa Walter combines metalsmithing and papermaking to create works to adorn the body. Melissa is originally from Concord, North Carolina. She holds a BFA in Metal Design from East Carolina University and a MFA in Jewelry and Metals from the University of Georgia.

Her current work investigates physical space, the distance or closeness between people, and emotional space, the intimate connection between people. Melissa’s current body of work gives form to this invisible arena of interaction, communication and possible discomfort. When worn, her forms project off the body, causing a physical barrier and awkward interaction between the wearer and viewer. The physical distance is contrasted with colorful crocheted sections and moving elements that are amusing, intriguing, and invite the viewer closer to the piece. The scale of the work and placement on the body is meant to push away, while the colorful crocheted forms and whimsical movement are meant to invite closeness, creating another layer of tension similar to the unseen space within human interaction.

During her time at HCCC, Melissa plans to continue to investigate and discover new ways to make visible the invisible space of human interaction. Her work has been recently exhibited in Jewelry + Objects, in Midland, Michigan; Ohio Designer Craftsman: The Best of 2011, 20_3_20, an invitational, traveling ring exhibition; and Handcrafted: A Juried Exhibition of Ceramics. Fibers. Glass. Metal. Wood., in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. Melissa will be with HCCC through August of 2012. To see more of her work, visit

Left, from top to bottom: Melissa Walter. Photo courtesy of the artist. Melissa Walter, "Brooch." Thread, steel, brass. 1" x 4". 2012. Photo by Jenny Antill.

John Zimmerman


John Zimmerman received his BFA in Ceramics from Bowling Green State University in Ohio and a MFA in Spatial Art from San Jose State University in California. An Assistant Professor of Fine Art at the University of New Mexico-Gallup, John is currently on a twelve-month leave of absence, preparing for a solo exhibition in Rochester, New York, and focusing solely on his creative work.

Clay is John’s chosen medium due to its tactile qualities and its versatility. His work utilizes the gamut of clay’s possible textures. A variety of processes are brought to bear in each work, including coil/slab building, solid sculpting and the use of molds. John says, “I want the work to be formidable, mysterious, raw and honest, a reflection of my thoughts, experiences and psychological state. To attain this presence, I contrast two highly disparate images within each sculpture, usually a historical image and a contemporary one. This contrast is intended to create meaning and elicit curiosity.”

During his residency at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, John plans to continue to enhance and expand upon this current body of work, while making connections with artists and galleries in the Houston area. He will be with HCCC through August of 2012. For more information, visit

Left, from top to bottom: John Zimmerman in his studio. Photo by HCCC. John Zimmerman, "Incommunicado #5." Porcelain and gauze. 16" x 24" x 9". 2009. Photo by John Zimmerman.