Miranda Howe (Vanessa Kahin Photo)
As daily triple-digit weather overcomes Roswell – announcing the onset of June and the rules for the next three months – artist Miranda Howe defiantly creates her latest masterpieces inside a hot kiln room.
Perhaps the last place anyone would want to be when the mercury rises, Howe is at home in the kiln room at the Roswell Artist-in-Residence artist compound. Her father, Tom Howe, built the room that can now be used by artists from near and far who come to the compound when they’re chosen by the RAiR program to do a residency.
A boon for the artists who live there, the kiln room is just one expression of Howe’s impressively artistic family.
Howe’s grandfather, Bill Wiggins, was a local artist – expressing himself through painting.
“He was born and raised here,” Howe said of her grandfather, who painted from the 1940s until he passed away in 2012. Miranda’s mother, Elaine Howe, was instrumental in the creation of the Creative Learning Center and in implementing some of its most enduring programs, such as the Legacy Project.
“They contract with professional artists to work with fifth-graders,” Miranda Howe said of the program. Together, artists and fifth-graders create a work of art that is installed at their school. The Legacy Project has been known to be any kind of medium – from ceramics to mosaic, from murals to printmaking.
“They’re leaving their legacy before they move on to middle school,” Howe said. “When you go into these schools, they’re just amassing all this work that’s been created by fifth-graders over the years.
“Our schools are becoming more art-friendly and art-rich.” Howe has participated in the Legacy Projects every year for the past five years.
Both Elaine Howe and Wiggins have been recognized for their contribution to culture and art. Elaine Howe received a Governor’s Award for Excellence in Art in 2009 for her positive impact on education. Wiggins received the same award for his painting in 2011.
Furthermore, Howe’s two brothers – Jeremy and Logan Howe – are both artists. Jeremy is a trained geologist who deals primarily with rocks, minerals and even fire to create art. Logan works with glass and makes jewelry.
“I come from a family of artists, that’s for sure,” Miranda Howe said with a chuckle. She shines in her own element – sculpture and ceramics. She creates works big and small, often creating designs on her work that are stimulating both to the sight and to the touch. Her most recent work involves creating smaller pieces and placing them together to create a structure taller than the average human being.
“It’s definitely challenged me physically,” Howe said of her larger works. “I love that quality. I also love parts coming together to make a whole.” In this sense, she explained, her works are reminiscent of a quilter’s labor.
Howe grew up in Capitan, her family moving to Roswell when she was in the 10th grade. She completed high school at Goddard High, graduating in 1989.
She attended Lubbock Christian University, which did not have an extensive art program, she said, but it did offer many possibilities to learn and create ceramics. When she began attending Texas Tech University, she tried several other art forms; but always returned to ceramics.
In 1995, Howe completed a bachelor in fine arts in ceramics from TTU. In 2002, she completed a master of fine arts in ceramics at Montana State University in Bozeman, Mont.
She’s completed various residencies; including one through the Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts in Helena, Mont.; The LH Project in Joseph, Ore., and a residency through the Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Snowmass Village, Colo.
Most recently, Howe has embarked on teaching. She is a ceramics instructor at Eastern New Mexico University- Ruidoso, but returned to Roswell Dec. 15, 2012, to begin her residency through the RAiR program.
Being granted an entire year to focus solely on her art, Howe has created ceramic works big and small to present during her residency exhibition, set to open June 15 with a slide talk at 5:30 p.m. and a reception from 6-7 p.m. at the Roswell Museum and Art Center.
“For me as an artist, coming to this exhibition, having the opportunity of the residency, allows the opportunity for me to explore the ideas I may not have had the time or resources (to explore) otherwise,” Howe said.
Despite the fact she’s from the area and has shown her work to the community, Howe wants her audience to know to expect something different from her upcoming exhibition.
“Much of the community here has seen my work, watched it grow and been supportive of me,” she said. “I want them to see a continued growth, a newness, an exploration in my work.”