Val Cushing (1931-2013) was born in Rochester, New York, and received his BFA and MFA from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University. Cushing is a functional potter, respecting function and the traditional materials and processes of ceramic art. He has created a body of work that is an invigorating infusion of the visual and the tactile.
His full-time teaching career began at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana. The following year, in 1957, he returned to Alfred University where he taught pottery and technical courses concerning clays, glazes and related subjects. He retired from Alfred in 1997, after forty-one years of teaching and was designated “Professor Emeritus”. He has taught summer programs at Alfred, Penland, Anderson Ranch, Peters Valley, Haystack and on the island of Maui where he taught for six weeks as the first artist-in-residence at the Hui Noeau. He has given over 250 lectures, workshops and demonstrations that have taken him all over the United States, to Canada, Ireland, England and Japan. His pottery has received many awards and honors, has been seen in well over 200 exhibitions, and in numerous one-person shows. He is represented in the collections of many public and private museums and galleries in the USA - including the Smithsonian, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, Cooper-Hewitt, and the Everson. He is also represented in Canada, England, Taiwan, Japan and Hawaii. He has received honors from Alfred University, from New York State and from NCECA for his role as a teacher. He is a Fellow of the American Craft Council and of NCECA (The National Council on Education in the Ceramic Arts) where he was a founding member and a past president. He has received an artist’s grant from the National Endowment of the Arts; a Fulbright grant for teaching and research in Manchester, England, an artist-in-residence grant at the Archie Bray Foundation and at the University of Wolverhampton, England.