CCES Welcomes Artist in Residence Kat McIver


Every January, the CCES Upper School hosts an artist for their Artist in Residence program. This year, Kat McIver was invited to come and instruct our Upper School art students. Though McIver is currently a well-respected artist at the Odyssey Ceramic Center for the Arts in Asheville, she has not always been a successful artist.

McIver began working with ceramics 26 years ago, after a divorce and a spiritual experience. Having no prior experience with ceramics, she decided to take a wheel course, but didn’t enjoy working on the wheel. However, through the course she learned about a meditative clay practice which she decided to try. McIver fell in love with using clay as a spiritual practice when she sat down with a hunk of clay and molded it, letting it take any form it wanted until she had her final product. Although she has not had official training with clay, McIver is now a trained expressive arts therapist and uses clay as a therapeutic process for her clients. As an expressive arts therapist, she lets her clients move the clay. Her clients’ work helps her understand the things that they are struggling with that they cannot convey with words alone.

Kat McIver has worked with clients of various ages but never with high school students. She accepted the offer to be Christ Church’s Artist in Residence to challenge herself and to allow her to work with a new age group. Her first day working with CCES’s students, she noticed that unlike her other clients, the students were less focused on themselves and more on their peers. After struggling to come up with a project for the art students, McIver finally began to picture the students as “warriors” in a way. Thus, the art students were told to create sculptures of young warriors, warriors of peace. With simple instruction, McIver gave the art students free reign over what the end product would turn out to be. The “warriors” are now on display in the Upper School.

After being CCES’s Artist in Residence, McIver says that she has grown the most in her appreciation for high school teachers. The art teachers worked their hardest to help their students get the most out of each small class period they had, and the teachers’ dedication towards their students really shined while McIver was at Christ Church. Kat McIver feels she has greatly benefitted from being involved as this year’s Artist in Residence. She hopes she has helped further the Upper School art students’ horizons as artists.