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Live to Inspire: Cassie Shahan ’13

October 31, 2014

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Cassie Shahan not only loves art, she loves art that serves a purpose. As a ceramicist and manager of Village Gallery in San Antonio’s beloved La Villita, Shahan ’13 regularly interacts with customers, collectors and fellow art lovers. Owned and operated by Walt and Cynthia Glass, Village Gallery opened in 1972 and has been offering handmade, one-of-a-kind pottery ever since. Along with her own interest in creating what she calls multipurpose art, Shahan credits Walt Glass, adjunct professor of ceramics, for really encouraging her to pursue ceramics.

“I actually hated ceramics when I started,” Shahan said. “Throwing a pot and using the pottery wheel with the clay was so frustrating, but there was always this hands-on, one-on-one interaction with my professors, including Walt. He would see when I was struggling or when I needed encouragement or when I was doing well.”

He also saw when she needed a job. While Shahan worked as an apprentice for Walt at his McQueeney Pottery store while in school, he asked her to take over as manager of San Antonio shop once she graduated. As a visual arts major and business minor, Shahan was eager to display the range of her TLU education.

“I’m a jack-of-all-trades at the store,” Shahan said. “From managing inventory and deliveries to customer service and actually making some of the pieces, my liberal arts education has really helped me be more successful. It’s one thing to be able to say you can throw pottery, but it’s another thing to be able to sell your stuff and actually have a business. Walt has helped me develop as an artist and taught me how to sell my work.”

For Shahan, seeing people appreciate her art is better than Christmas.

“I first experienced this at the 2014 Starving Artist Show,” Shahan said. “Even when people didn’t buy something and they would just comment on it or say they appreciated my work, it was an indescribable feeling. I’m so very fortunate to have learned from someone like Walt who has been doing this for more almost 50 years. Being on both sides of the business and continually having Walt’s support, along with his trust, still allows me to learn. I’m so lucky to be able to still do what I love and make a living from it. He’s family to me now and I’ll always be able to learn from him no matter where I am in my career.”

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