While exploring my family’s past, I have discovered reccurring patterns and coping mechanisms which carry over for generations. Though I did not have a choice in receiving this trauma, I do have a choice in healing it. Through heavy repetition of form and processes, I am reiterating the importance of reclaiming healthy repetition for myself after growing up in a home where it was seen in direct correlation with addiction. These works examine what it means to claim ownership over one’s own personal story. The process of creating these works have given me the opportunity to step back and look at my upbringing and myself with compassion, understanding, and love.

Heather Schroeder


Heather Schroeder is an artist from Oshkosh, Wisconsin. She received her BA in Art and Design Art from the University of Wisconsin, Green Bay in 2018. In 2022, Schroeder received her MFA at Montana State University, where she focused on trauma, the body, as well as her own personal story. Her work carries a strong narrative which invites the viewer to examine subjects relating to domestic violence, addiction, family matters, as well as personal growth. She predominantly works in ceramic, textile, and watercolor.

Schroeder has shown in group exhibitions across the United States. She currently lives and practices in Farmington, Minnesota.

Heather Schroeder

When was the first time you felt like you were an artist?

I think the first time I truly felt like an artist was during my time in undergrad at the University ofWisconsin-Green Bay when I began making work about myself and my family. It wasn't until then that I was able to see that art can impact and initiate conversations and change. As a kid, I always wanted to be an artist when I grew up and I understand now that I was just as much an artist then as I am today.

Heather Schroeder

What would you say is the underlying thread that connects your work?

Looking at my work, I would say that the underlying thread would be family and self. Whether that is looking at the happy memories, or the more difficult ones which involve addiction and loss, my art often involves me navigating how I view myself, my place in my family, and how I understand it's history.

What is the most satisfying part of your practice?

This is a tough one! I would say that one of the most rewarding parts of my practice is the conversations that form around my work, its subject matter, and the viewer. Knowing that the work I make allows others to not feel so alone in their experiences, reminds me why I do what I do.

Heather Schroeder

Tell us about a turning point in your artistic journey and/or career.

The biggest turning point in my artistic journey came after my father passed away when I was 19 due to his alcoholism. I was trying to find answers for myself around his addiction, his life, and his death. The process that came out of being so open about my grieving and my experiences showed me that art makes a difference. Not only in my own personal life, but in the lives of those who view it as well.

If you could show your work anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

I've always hoped to have my work shown in some sort of drug and alcohol rehabilitation center. Having my work viewed by others who are facing similar struggles that my family has in the past, would mean so much to me. Whether the art impacts the individual who is battling with substance abuse, or the friends and family members of the loved one, having people connect to the work where they can find hope and connectedness during a difficult time would make for a meaningful display of my art.

Heather Schroeder