Jerrie Fabrigas got a bachelor’s degree in art history because she thought she wanted to curate other people’s art. It wasn’t until she took a ceramics class at Palomar College that she realized she had a talent for making her own art.

Since her first ceramics class at Palomar College in 2020, Fabrigas has been making and selling her ceramic art pieces. She recently was selected as a 2024 Artaxis fellow, which provides funding so that she can attend a two-week summer workshop at the renowned Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Maine.

“I always thought I would be observing but not participating,” she said. “I never considered myself an artist.”

Fabrigas grew up next door to Palomar College and took classes there while she was in high school. In 2014, she earned her bachelor’s degree in art history from the University of California at Irvine. After a two-year stint teaching English in Japan, she decided to pursue a master’s degree in art restoration with the career goal of becoming a museum curator.

In 2020, she took some courses at Palomar College to qualify for the master’s program and took a ceramics class on a whim. Although she couldn’t create much during the online class held during the pandemic, Fabrigas said Ceramics Faculty Member Sasha Koozel Reibstein encouraged her.

“She said I should dedicate more time to this,” Fabrigas said. “It was eye-opening and surprising to me because I never thought I would be in the fine arts.”

After several semesters, the ceramics classes that Fabrigas was taking called to her more than her chemistry and archeology courses.

“I wanted ceramics to be more of a priority,” she said. “It was kind of a slow build over a few semesters.”

Fabrigas attributes the blossoming of her passion for ceramics to Koozel Reibstein.

“I love Sasha. She’s so great,” Fabrigas said. “Her assignments encouraged the conceptual with me. She’s always pushing me to build bigger and think about the concept behind what I’m making.”

Fabrigas said she creates ceramic sculptures and wearable art such as chest plates and helmets. Her work has been featured in a student art exhibition and led to another internship at the Anderson Ranch art center in Colorado.

Fabrigas is now working as a technical assistant in the ceramics department. Her goal is to earn a Masters in Fine Arts and work as a ceramic artist.

“I feel so grateful for Palomar College. My life would not be what it is today,” Fabrigas said.