College of Architecture, Art and Construction

Fired in Love: One couple’s journey from Clemson’s pottery kilns to entrepreneurship


The lives of Clemson University MFA alumni Kat Hutter ’06 and Roger Lee ’07 have created a mosaic of personal and professional growth.

Hutter, with roots in the Midwest, and Lee, a Californian at heart, found themselves on a transformative journey through the Clemson MFA program. Their shared thirst for new environments and diverse perspectives brought them together as students, laying the foundation for a partnership that extends beyond canvas borders. As artists and proud owners of K+R Paint and Clay, Inc., they seamlessly navigate between the vibrant energy of Los Angeles, C.A., and the tranquil landscapes of Fond du Lac, W.I.

Choosing Clemson

Hutter and Lee echo a sentiment of gratitude when asked about their choice of Clemson for their MFA degree. 

“The MFA graduate program at Clemson University granted each of us a fellowship and the opportunity to teach college-level courses,” Lee said. 

Hutter added, “We met at Clemson, so it will always hold a special place in our hearts.”

Reflecting on their journey, the duo credits the Clemson Art faculty for shaping their careers. 

“The Clemson Art faculty are all professional artists still practicing in their fields,” Hutter noted. 

“They are an inspiration to any artist pursuing a professional career,” Lee added. “They provided a rigorous and nurturing learning experience that prepared us to go out and continue the work.”

MFA Alumni Kat Hutter and Roger Lee with their ceramic work
MFA Alumni Kat Hutter and Roger Lee with their ceramic work

Sustaining artistic integrity

The duo’s venture into entrepreneurship with K+R Paint and Clay, Inc. has been transformative. 

“Creating a business has strengthened our drive to continue this work,” Hutter reflects. 

Lee emphasizes, “Being an artist is our profession. The business is how we keep our practice going. It’s an investment in ourselves and the integrity of our work.”

Advice for emerging artists

For aspiring artists, Hutter and Lee offer insightful advice. “Art is an expression of the individual, the artist,” Hutter said. 

Lee encouraged artists to be patient. “It’s a career that invests in yourself, so take the time to make your own experiences and pave a path for opportunities that will shape your career,” he said. “Work hard and try to think of it more as a marathon than a sprint.”

As Hutter and Lee continue to mold the clay of their lives, their artistic partnership is fueled by passion, perseverance and a continuous journey of harmonious experiences.

MFA Alumni Kat Hutter and Roger Lee met at Clemson University

Ceramics by MFA Alumni Kat Hutter and Roger Lee
Ceramics by MFA Alumni Kat Hutter and Roger Lee

Hutter and Roger’s ceramic work is part of the “As Good As Gold: 50 Years of the MFA at Clemson” Part III exhibition and can be viewed in the Lee Gallery until Mar. 8.

About the Clemson MFA Program 

Clemson University’s Master of Fine Arts program celebrates a half-century of art and learning with a three-part exhibition featuring a wide variety of art from its graduates and receptions featuring reflections from notable alumni and supporters of the MFA program. As part of this 50-year-long celebration, Clemson Visual Arts is featuring MFA Alumni this semester leading into the summer months. 

The MFA is considered the terminal degree in the visual arts. Clemson’s program offers studio concentrations in drawing, painting, printmaking, ceramics, photography and sculpture. Interdisciplinary and collaborative projects are encouraged within the department. The program’s primary goal is to provide students with opportunities to develop a high degree of professional competence in their chosen area of concentration.

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