Courtney Zimmerman, a 2015 graduate of Millikin University, has a passion for pottery, a talent she discovered as a student at Millikin University. Her motivation to develop her craft and become her own boss has led to a successful pottery business she’s built online and through social media.
Zimmerman began her academic journey as an art therapy major, but that all changed after helping a Millikin faculty member set up an art show on campus as a sophomore in 2013. Inspired by that experience, Zimmerman, a native of Momence, Ill., learned how to make clay and glazes before she ever took a ceramics course.
Just about everything Zimmerman creates is thrown on a pottery wheel. Each piece has anywhere from four to eight different glazes that are strategically brushed on. “I like colors to blend and change, so I layer just about everything,” she said. “I tend to think about the glazes as creating abstract landscapes, but with colors that I am personally inspired by.”
Zimmerman says the best thing about creating pottery is that it’s a functional art.
“Every piece I make is different and has a different purpose,” she says. “Anytime I see people using my mugs around the office I just get so happy that they’re able to enjoy those things on a daily basis. I make work for others to use and love.”
Zimmerman’s work can be found on Instagram @cmwceramics, on her online store at courtneyzimmerman.com and can also be found at a few shops including Society in Valparaiso, Ind.; Moon Cookie Gallery and Stefari Café in Kankakee, Ill.; and Homespun in Indianapolis.
As an artist, Zimmerman says it’s important to grow and change over time and to build a following online and in the real world. “Don’t be afraid to put your work out there. Not everyone is going to like it, but that’s okay,” she said. “Market yourself and apply to shows, galleries or markets. You have to start somewhere, even if it’s the little market in your hometown. Write yourself lists of anything you want to accomplish, whether it’s big or small. Keep yourself accountable, because you are doing this for you and to make your dreams a reality.”