CCES Voices

Kate Furman

CCES Molds an Artist

Kate Furman’s '04 jewelry studio in downtown Greenville is full of pieces of artwork -- her own creations. Searching for jewels and metals in places like Jackson Hole and the Chattooga River, Kate seeks materials that tell stories. She then takes those jewels and metals and crafts necklaces, bracelets, and other types of jewelry.

If you think such jewelry making and metalsmithing takes a true artist’s eye and attention to detail, you’re right. These qualities and more were cultivated in Kate at Christ Church Episcopal School.

Beginnings of an Artist at CCES

Kate attended CCES from Primer through ninth grade.

“During my time at CCES, my parents, Linda and Earle Furman, encouraged me to take as many art classes as I could,” Kate said.

She remembers learning about art in Ms. Kathy Wood’s art class in Lower School, where Kate painted a bumblebee that’s now in a frame in her parents’ house today.

Kate says middle school art teacher, Alice Ballard, is the most influential teacher she’s ever had. Kate first got to know “Mrs. Munn,” as she was back then, in an after-school ceramics class. Students practiced ceramics by making teapots.

“My teapot was modeled after my Great Dane, which Alice let us bring into class for some in-person rendering,” Kate said. “Alice’s patience, nurturing and attention to detail impacted me for life.”

Kate later took Mrs. Munn’s art class -- her favorite class at Christ Church -- where she learned how to respond to materials and subjects in the class, a vital skill that she still uses today.

Kate recalls learning an important lesson from Mrs. Munn when she was carving a block of clay to make her self-portrait bust.

“I have crazy curly hair, so mimicking it was proving difficult,” Kate said. “Alice showed me how to push my fingers into the clay to create ridges that eventually turned into my curls.  It was a simple moment, but one that I still remember.”

Making a Career of Art

In the 10th grade, Kate decided to attend the Fine Arts Center in Greenville, where she learned about the jewelry making and metalsmithing career she has now. And when she went on to further her studies in jewelry making and metalsmithing, Kate was ready.

She earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Georgia and a Master of Fine Arts from the Rhode Island School of Design.

Kate credits CCES for preparing her well.
“I am a hard and honest worker, and I know I got that through my education and mentors at CCES,” Kate said.

Kate’s Recognition as an Artist

Kate’s artwork has appeared in a number of international and national exhibitions and currently appears in five galleries in North and South Carolina. She has been featured in The Huffington Post, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and many other publications for her dedication to her craft.

ARTISPHERE recognized her with the Emerging Festival Artist Award before she received the Best Local Visual Artist three consecutive years. And Kate has taught jewelry making and metalsmithing since graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design.

But at the beginning, she learned the foundation of her craft at CCES, where the support she received helped mold the artist she is today.

“My favorite part of CCES was how close the families were,” Kate said. “Friendships between the parents and students became a giant web of connectedness. My mom loved that part too. She missed that a lot after I left. I still consider many of my friends’ parents to be my friends. CCES creates an amazing support system for life, and it is one that I still rely on.”
Kate has worked hard to establish herself as an artist, but she hasn’t forgotten about her days at CCES. She hosted the Lower School’s summer art class in her studio over the summer and is teaching as the Upper School’s Artist in Residence for a week this fall.

“After going to school there for 10 years, I have a ton of great memories,” Kate said. “It definitely shaped who I am today. I think it’s important for us all to give back to where we came from.”

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Christ Church Episcopal School (“CCES”) admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at CCES. CCES does not discriminate on the basis of sex, race, color, national or ethnic origin, creed, religion, or sexual orientation in the administration of its educational policies, admission policies, financial aid, scholarship or other programs, or athletic or other school-administered programs and activities.