Alumna Adriana Sanchez’s artwork appears in national magazine

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Adriana Sanchez who has long dark hair and wearing a white tee. To the right is the Pottery Making Illustrated magazine cover showing hands working with clay.

When thumbing through the recent issue of Pottery Making Illustrated, a national magazine for potters, HFC ceramics instructor Steve Glazer was overjoyed to see the work of one of his former students, Adriana Sanchez.

“Adriana was in two of my ceramics classes. I taught her during my first semester teaching at HFC (then Henry Ford Community College) in 2004,” said Glazer. “I am very proud of her accomplishments. When I saw her work in this national magazine, I was not surprised. I had close to 20 years teaching ceramics classes in higher education environments prior to coming to HFC. Sometimes you just know when a student will someday find their way in the ceramics world, often before they know it. Adriana was one of those students. I knew she could do it and even talked to my colleagues about her. It is so exciting when your intuition is proven correct years later!"

Sanchez, who teaches kindergarten at Geer Park Elementary School in the Dearborn Public Schools, was surprised that her artistry was featured.

“My current instructor at the Michigan Art Center in Garden City encouraged me to enter the contest,” said Sanchez. “Sometimes putting my work out there is hard for me to do, as I'm not sure others will like it. The opportunities I have had to display my work have come from others encouraging me. It was a big surprise and a boost of confidence for me that I was selected to be a part of the January-February issue of Pottery Making Illustrated.

Pottery came naturally to Sanchez

The second of five children and the only daughter, Sanchez was born in Texas and moved to Michigan in 1999. Sanchez lives with her significant other and their two children, ages 13 and 11, in Allen Park. An alumna of Western High School in Detroit, she began her education at HFC when she graduated.

“I wanted to stay close to home and graduate with the least amount of debt,” she said. “HFC was a great place to take my pre-requisite classes.”

It was also at HFC where she fell in love with pottery after taking Glazer’s Ceramics I class.

“Pottery came naturally to me. I enjoyed the process it took to create something from the earth and be able to use it. I wanted to be an art teacher and took several courses at HFC, but then decided to pursue early childhood education,” she recalled.

Sanchez earned her associate degree in fine arts from HFC. Transferring to the University of Michigan-Dearborn, she earned her bachelor’s degree in early childhood education with minors in mathematics and ESL.

Being a teacher is a crucial role in society

During her time at HFC, Sanchez worked as an assistant teacher at Head Start in Detroit. This experience inspired her to become a teacher. She has been teaching nearly 20 years in both Arizona and Michigan. She has been a teacher in Dearborn since 2018.

“I love being a teacher. I know that my role as a teacher is a crucial part to our society. I believe the foundation to being a great citizen of the world begins in early childhood. Children can be fostered to do great things starting at a young age,” explained Sanchez. “When I taught in Arizona at the Awakening Seed School, I learned that cultivating an environment that brings peace to a child’s life is possible for world peace. I didn’t understand this until I became a mother and taught for several years. Teaching children how to read and write is so important, but it's more than that. Teaching them core values of life such as being kind, compassionate, and respectful is my ultimate goal.”

Being an artist is an advantage for Sanchez as a teacher.

“I am more aware of the talents of my students,” she said. “I am aware that all children have a gift and need someone to notice it and make them feel like they can do anything they put their minds to. I love Pablo Picasso’s quote, ‘Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once they grow up.’ If only the school systems can see that quality learning stems from the arts. This is the hard part of my job.”

Her best friend is pottery

In her free time, Sanchez is focusing on creating a studio in her basement. She hopes to have it ready by the summer, when she has more time to focus on her artwork.

“I have a kiln and a wheel that are secondhand. I try to be on the lookout for used equipment to save money,” she said. “If the opportunity arises to be in a show or exhibition, I will do it. At the moment, however, I only plan to participate in the Annual Potters Market in Southfield at the end of this year.”

Sanchez continued: “Pottery is a big part of my life. I think I would describe it as my best friend. When I work with clay, I feel it is a place where I can meditate, reflect, and be at peace. It is also my escape; playing with clay is my therapy and my way of taking care of me. I am content and confident in doing what I love to do.”

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