Adero Willard | Episode 917

Adero Wllard is originally from New York City and currently lives in Chicopee, MA. Adero received a BFA at Alfred University an MFA at Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and was a Salad Days artist in resident at Watershed Center for Ceramic Arts in Maine. Adero has over twenty-five years as a ceramics artist and has been featured in a number of discussion panels, publications, books on ceramics, and has exhibited work nationally and internationally. Adero is committed to equity and inclusion work, and while a visiting assistant professor in ceramics has been a faculty co-facilitator for IDEA lab an anti-racism and anti-bias program at Alfred university. Adero is a co-founder of the non-profit outreach organization POW! Pots on Wheels since 2014 and is committed to diversity and anti-hierarchical approaches to teaching in the field of ceramics. For Adero it is all about a love for clay, nature, community, history and learning and sharing knowledge of the handmade with others.


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How did you overcome that feeling of being alone? The only black girl?

I feel like I navigate that kind of space by connecting through other ways, like through clay, through making other connections. You can always connect and it taught me how to be really open and flexible.

It is a difficult thing for you to tell your story, your roots, your history, and for it to be taken seriously in the mainstream? 

Sometimes I feel like it is hard to tell my story because it is one that has a lot of complexity and I think also sometimes folks don’t want to venture into those areas because they don’t know what that is. So it can be uncomfortable. My hope is that people are more….

Is what I heard you saying earlier is that you want the roots to be heard, to be recognized and to be respected and to be seen critically? Do you feel like the corner has been turned?

I think we are at the corner and people understand that there is a corner to be turned. I don’t know if the corner has been turned yet. But I think we all understand that there’s more work to be done and that’s a really great place to be. We can keep doing that work.

Critique and criticism are two totally different things. Do you feel specifically on the internet. like Instagram or wherever it would be, do you feel that when black art is being approached that instead of being critiqued it tend to be more critical?

I think that there’s just a lot of different work out there. Some of it a critique and some of it is critical. I think there is a necessity for both, for those things to happen. I personally don’t do that but I really appreciate it when people do and I think it is necessary to have both voices.

What is one thing that has got you excited?

I am really excited about being a part of  Pots on Wheels. Which we call POW. and it’s a non-profit organization Clay Holds Water and Water Holds Memory and we do a lot of outreach work in the community and we are part of making diversity happen for young folks and it’s a really great non-profit organization I hope you all check out.


Beloved by Toni Morrison 


Instagram: @aderowillard

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