Like any artist, Seth Green pulls from multiple inspirations to create his signature pottery style. He talks about leaning into his Christian faith, discovering distinctive church spires in Prague, experiencing a sun-silhouetted lighthouse in Chile, and studying other international architecture to help develop the rituals, symbolism, and ceremonies of his craft.
And, of course, he keeps his family close to heart. Green, an associate professor of ceramics at Purdue University Fort Wayne, and his wife, Julianne, have been married for 22 years. Their children are SeAnna, 12, Jeran, 9, Jillian, 7, and Scott, 3.
“Everything I do, like coming to work every day, I do because I know I have a family at home to provide for, to pay the mortgage and to buy food and clothes and all the extra things that come up,” Green said. “I feel really blessed to be able to do it and make a living as an artist.”
Part of the way Green shares his art is as the advisor to the Ceramics Club, which holds its annual holiday sale Dec. 5 and 6 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the IDEASpace at Helmke Library. A spring sale will be held in April.
To embody his commitment to family, Green implements a unique personality into the bottles he crafts. Starting with his wife when they were only a couple, Green inserted a small clay ball into the lids to provide a little rattle. Each time a child was born, another was added to new projects until six balls now rattle in the top of some of his pieces.
The children know about the rattles and may fully realize the meaning in a few years, but something they will remember forever is the time they’ve spent with their dad in his home studio. Scott loves to find his father and ask if he can play with clay, and Seth has a small apron for his son to wear.
“Seth is an incredible father and manages to be at such ease when his kids are in the studio,” said student Nicole Pitcher, a mother of two who works with Green. “He’s constantly mindful of their experience and how he can share his work, time, and attention with his kids.
“Seth has a lot of responsibilities, and the work he does is incredibly detailed and intricately crafted, yet he maintains a focus and warmth with his kids and family. Seeing someone work so hard and be so present and excited with his kids is genuinely inspiring.”
Green developed the rattle idea shortly after becoming a father, often working late at night in the studio after the infants had gone to bed.
“I could do my own kind of ritual that could be a symbol to my children and me personally and my new role as a father,” Green said. “It’s like the most important thing I could ever do.”
At the time, he wanted to make something impactful, something different, unique, and his. He was trying to develop his own voice as an artist, and as Green tells his students, the voice of an artist is an extension of who they are and what is going on in their lives. They can own their art and influence what they produce by valuing their personal history, and how they communicate that through their art is real and authentic. It’s allowing their work to become fully part of who they are, which leads to their best creations.
“I thought it was a fun and artistic touch to help him think about our children,” Julianne said. “Seth finds ways to incorporate the people and the beliefs that are important to him into his art. Our children are one of the many reasons why he works so hard. He never takes time for himself. He is always caring for and thinking of others.”
When the couple met at Southern Utah University, he almost scared Julianna away by telling her he wanted to become a ceramic artist. He nearly dropped that dream to become a wildlife firefighter because Green knew he wanted a family and was nervous about being able to make a living as an artist.
Julianne admired other qualities about Seth and supported him through school, and now he has an outstanding career in and out of the classroom—along with their happy family.