Meet the Maker: Asma Waheed

It’s a pleasure to introduce our next Meet the Maker artist Asma Waheed! A current Master’s student, Asma has been working in clay since she took a local community studio class in 2012. As with so many of us, she was hooked and has been focused on ceramics ever since.

Follow along with her adventures in clay on Instagram @asmawaheedart to learn more about the techniques behind her work; in particular, there are a number of archived video posts that include her beautiful labour-intensive geometric pattern drawing.

Living and working out of Ellicott City, Maryland, Asma has a particular interest in working with the local community. She states on her website; “During monthly sessions at local faith-based communities, she provides a safe space for women in the community to engage with art.” From her artist statement: “Inspiration for my work comes from my homeland with its rich history of beautiful architecture, textile, and pottery which is skinned with geometrical patterns, biomorphic designs, and calligraphy. I also enjoy and draw inspiration from the natural beauty around us.  My work portrays a sense of balance and harmony, each piece makes the viewer’s eyes travel from one line to another with a smooth transition leaving a sense of tranquillity.  Surfaces on my utilitarian pots and tiles both serve as blank canvases on which I express ideas inspired by being an immigrant mother caught between two cultures.”

Asma doesn’t shy away from working in clay in a number of ways such as wheel throwing and hand-building. She says she likes to do a bit of everything. We love how the aesthetics of her work carries over from piece to piece. One of her favourite forms to make is a shallow bowl, and we can see why; having a larger surface area to decorate with her unique ways is so stunning on a larger open form.

“I keep exploring different mediums and different firing processes to explore form and surface. My work is constantly evolving resembling a dug out tile from Mohenjo Daro to something that belongs in a modern museum.  No matter what clay is used or what firing process has been applied, sacred geometry, calligraphy and Mughal patterns have been at the heart of it all. Lines either create harmony or tension that reflect my day to day American life trying to embrace some of myself and escape some of myself from immigrant cultural expectations and baggage.”

Asma is originally from Pakistan and now works out of her home studio so she can be more available for her four children. “I have a kiln, wheel, slab roller and a few tables/shelves to work. No running water which is fine at the moment. My school is an hour away so with kids’ schedules and me being the sole caretaker of them it was necessary to have a home studio.” Future goals for this talented artist after grad school include attending residencies such as those offered at Penland and The Archie Bray with the ultimate goal of using her unique skills to teach others as a faculty professor someday. Oh, we wish you all the best Asma! Can’t wait to watch all your dreams come true!

A few quick facts: 

Her soundtrack in the studio: Podcasts such as: For Flux Sake, Tales of a Red Clay Rambler, Art Illuminated, and Circle Round ( to keep her kids busy with clay).

Piece of ceramic that she is currently trying to get her hands on: A Naomi Clement piece.

If she wasn’t an artist she’d be: An Interior Designer.

Ways to cure a creative block: “I always restart with some familiar shapes to make on the wheel, making sketches helps. If it’s a project and I am stuck, talking to a friend artist helps at times. Working something creative unrelated to clay helps as well.”

Biggest achievement to date: “My kids (keeping them alive and raising them)/ taking a step forward and going back to school in 2019 for my masters in ceramics.”

If you could take a workshop from any artist living or past who would it be and why?Alberto Bustos, his sculptures are so living, so much movement and fragility at the same time. I would love to learn how he achieves the colours and distressed surface.”

Thanks so much Asma for sharing with us! Please make sure you give her a follow on Instagram, connect with her on the Ceramic School site!

Leave us a comment below about what you love best about Asma’s work!

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