Release Date: 
Monday, November 13, 2023

Get to Know HFC: Patty Goodell is an unsung hero of Fine Arts

Patty Goodall at her pottery wheel with a clay bowl.
Alumna Patty Goodell has worked as a ceramics technician at HFC since 2006. She is seen here at the pottery wheel in the ceramics studio, crafting her next masterpiece.

When she was a student at HFC (then Henry Ford Community College), Patty Goodell happened to look in the clay room as she was walking by and thought it looked fun.

“Before I knew it, I signed up for the class,” recalled Goodell. “After that first class, I changed my major to ceramics.”

“One heck of a potter”

Born in Toledo, Ohio, Goodell – the fourth of five children – moved to Dearborn with her family when she was 2. She lives in Dearborn with Kirk, her husband of 43 years. They have one adult son and eight grandchildren.

Goodell attended Edsel Ford High School. She later earned her associate degree in ceramics from HFC. She completed additional coursework in ceramics and fine arts at Eastern Michigan University. For the last 10 years, Goodell has been an active member on the Board of Directors of the Michigan Ceramic Art Association. Her pottery has been exhibited for the last five years in The Cracked Pot Studio Tour in Lansing.

“Patty is one heck of a potter!” said HFC Faculty Chair of Fine and Performing Arts Steve Glazer. “She is one of the reasons that the ceramics program at HFC is pretty well known throughout both the Metro Detroit area and the state of Michigan.”

Ceramics and the Sisson gallery

Since 2006, Goodell has worked at the College as a Ceramics Technician. She also serves as an assistant to the recently-renovated Sisson Art Gallery on the first floor of the MacKenzie Fine Arts Center (Building M) on the main campus. In both positions, Goodell reports to Glazer.

“Steve puts a lot of his heart and soul into the ceramics program,” said Goodell. “That makes a big difference working here. He’s all about the students and makes their experience as memorable as possible.”

As a technician, her duties include making the clay, running the kilns, assisting students with technical questions, and keeping the ceramics studio organized and clean. For the Sisson gallery, her duties include hanging artwork for shows, interfacing with artists, keeping the gallery clean, and managing the work study program.

“Patty has been a dedicated member of HFC Fine Arts for nearly 20 years. She is always willing to help out wherever needed,” said Glazer. “Patty is my right hand in just about everything related to Sisson. She totally understands how a professional exhibition should look and is the best assistant I could ever dream of having in making every exhibition in Sisson look as good and professional as it possibly can.”

Representing the work at its best

Goodell enjoys being part of HFC’s arts community. The best part of her job is interfacing with students and colleagues.

“I really like the people and the atmosphere here at the College,” she said. “The students are eager to learn. My colleagues are eager to be team players. That’s very important to me.”

HFC instructor and program lead for digital and graphic arts Vicki Shepherd first met Goodell in 2006, which was when she began teaching at the College.

"Patty is a godsend to the fine arts,” said Shepherd. “She works endlessly to make sure student shows and professional shows represent the work at its best. Not only does she work intentionally and diligently for HFC, she is also a talented potter. I have many pieces that Patty has created through the years. One of my favorites was a cast-off for Patty yet a treasure for me."