Carla B. Collins

Chair of the Department of Art
Kruidenier '40 Chair in Art and Architecture
Carla Collins


B.F.A. Plymouth State University

M.A.T. Plymouth State University


Multi-media teaching artist Carla Collins was born and raised in New Hampshire by photographers. She earned her BFA in studio arts in 2007 and her Master of Arts and Teaching in 2009 from Plymouth State University. Collins skillfully delves into a range of multi-media ceramic sculptures and screen-prints that draw inspiration from the intricate world of microscopic organisms, the spellbinding imagery of Cymatics, and the captivating beauty of the natural world. The work unlocks new paths and perspectives by investigating the transformative power of bridging science, spirituality, ritual objects, and healing modalities.

She uses natural colors and raw materials such as porcelain, stoneware, diamonds, fur, stones, wood, tea, bones, herbs, and translucent glazes. Her installations offer a sensory and immersive experience that encourages viewers to indulge in their primal, tactile desires.

Collins is passionate about experiencing diverse cultures and perspectives, which she satisfies by participating in artist residencies worldwide. She has participated in the International Ceramic Research Center in Denmark, the International Ceramics Studio in Hungary, and the Byrdcliffe Artist Residency in Woodstock, NY; Carla currently maintains a studio in New England.

Since arriving at Phillips Exeter Academy in 2010, Collins has supported and worked with the Exeter Student Service Organization to organize Empty Bowls and raise funds for local food banks. Additionally, she successfully raised funds for traditional pottery towns in Japan that were severely impacted by the 2011 earthquake. During her visit to Mashiko, Japan, she established connections with several potters, including the internationally renowned artist Ken Matsuzaki, whom she later invited to Exeter as a visiting artist. Matsuzaki demonstrated and shared his craft with students, contributing to students' education in the contemporary Mingei potter philosophy and exhibiting his unique contemporary styles and influences. 

Carla Collins' thirst for international exploration and her fascination with diverse cultures and their unique pottery techniques and art history have led her to Japan, Hungary, China, and Hawaii. These journeys have significantly enriched her global perspective, which she brings to her work at Phillips Exeter Academy.

Collins is currently Chair of the Art Department at Phillips Exeter Academy, where she plays a pivotal role in shaping and guiding the students' artistic education. She also advises the Flower Arranging Club, which fosters the love of plants and creativity in a different medium. Collins shares her life with her husband, Cornelius Collins IV, a classical painter who owns and runs Four Square Framing and Fine Art Gallery in Stratham, New Hampshire. The Collins family resides on the campus with their daughter and three miniature schnauzers.