Winthrop University Home Page
Menu Header
Jen Ray - Meissen factory
Name: Jen Ray
Residence: New York City, New York
Degree: Art
Occupation: Artist

Jen Ray - axeJen Ray - Meissen factoryJen Ray - NYC
Porcelain is the diva of ceramics: Beautiful but delicate, it demands patience, precision and incredible focus. Artist Jen Ray ’95, however, isn’t one to back down from a challenge.

The New York City painter served as artist in residence at the Meissenporcelain factory in Talstrasse, Germany. At Meissen, Europe’s oldest porcelain manufacturer, she learned how to work with porcelain – a notoriously finicky ceramic material. Ray, whose art depicts Amazon warriors and feats of female strength, opted to create porcelain axes. She collaborated with Meissen’s artisans to sculpt and design a series of sturdy porcelain axes adorned with intricate flowers.

Ray relished the challenge of learning to work with porcelain, which she described as a durable and versatile material.

“You can create so many things with porcelain, and I think learning about the possibilities and histories of ‘white gold’ was the best part of the experience,” said Ray, who resides in New York with her husband, Jason Forrest.

Ray’s time at Meissen marked her first experience as an artist in residence, but she works as a full-time artist represented by Albertz Benda in New York City and Wentrup Gallery in Berlin, Germany. Ray’s artwork has been exhibited across the U.S. and Europe, including Germany, France, London, Austria and The Netherlands, among others.

The Edgemoor, South Carolina, native noted that it took patience and time—years working odd jobs to make ends meet—to build her career as a full-time artist. She urges student-artists to connect with professors and alumni to ask for guidance.

“It’s pretty rare to survive on your art alone … ask your teachers for advice on this! Ask yourself what you want to do and then reach out to alumni to find out how they did it,” said Ray. She added that she hopes to serve as a resource for student-artists – her email address is

Ray credited several Winthrop professors—ceramics sculptor Paula Smith, Department of Fine Arts Chair Tom Stanley and Associate Professor Emeritus of Art and Design Jean McFarland—with helping her create a fulfilling career as a full-time artist.

“I learned a tremendous amount at Winthrop and then used the knowledge I had gained (and some common sense) to get a job in the arts,” said Ray.

To learn more about Ray’s work, visit her website at

Last Updated: 7/17/2017 by MC

Explore additional My Winthrop Experience profiles.

© Winthrop University · 701 Oakland Avenue · Rock Hill, SC 29733, USA · 803/323-2211