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Timpview student wins at national K-12 ceramics competition

By Ashtyn Asay - | Apr 25, 2022
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Ceramics created by Milla Prokhorov, a student at Timpview High School.
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Ceramics created by Milla Prokhorov, a student at Timpview High School.

Although Timpview High School senior Milla Prokhorov is a national award-winning ceramicist, she’s still a bit apprehensive to call herself an artist.

At the National K-12 Ceramic Art Show held in Sacramento, Prokhorov’s ceramics piece entitled “Where the Eastern Moon Meets the Western Sun” earned her the Ingrid Mahan Foundation Scholarship, the Lucy Roy Award, the Artistic Achievement Award and the Kansas City Art Institute Senior Scholarship.

Additionally, Prokhorov walked away with the Alfred University Theodore A. Randall Memorial Scholarship, which will cover almost all of her tuition in addition to guaranteeing her enrollment at Alfred University, which was ranked as the top ceramics program in the country by U.S. News.

“I was just flipping out because things kept progressing, and I was like ‘holy cow where does it stop,'” Prokhorov said. “The state show was enough, the award was enough, then I got into the national show and I go there and I come home with two scholarships to two of my dream schools. … I’m really gratefu. It was a really surreal, unbelievable experience.”

Prokhorov’s first experience making pottery was at a studio with her class while in Suzdal, Russia, a town northeast of Moscow. There, she fell in love with the art form and wanted to continue with it after moving to Utah.

“I was really captured by it and it’s just kind of been at the back of my head,” she said.

For Prokhorov, moving to the Provo area was a bit of a shock after living in the fast-paced cities of Manhattan, Moscow and Palo Alto. Like most high school students, she searched for where she fit in at Timpview, but it wasn’t until she discovered the art studio that she felt like she’d really found her place.

“I didn’t really find my place here before I found the studio,” she said. “This wing, the (career and technical education) and arts wing, is so undervalued but I really appreciate it because teachers here … they’re working on a teacher’s salary but they really care about their kids and how they do, and how they develop their skills.”

Although her finished pieces have a classic and effortless beauty, according to Prokhorov, her skill at the potter’s wheel didn’t come easily but rather with hours of hard work spent in the Timpview art wing.

“I just fell in love with it. It’s not very responsible, but I was here all the time … hours by day; I was so captured and motivated to progress,” she said. “I wasn’t a natural. I had to work for it.”

In her work, Prokhorov is often inspired by everyday things. Most recently, it’s bottles. Similar to her ceramics teacher at Timpview, R. Brent Davison, Prokhorov likes to create things with purpose and function, while still finding ways to make even the mundane beautiful.

“In the last month, I’ve been really inspired by the bottle. I’ve been working on creating a form that pleases the eye, which for me I’m really, really particular about,” she said. “I have a lot of inspiration from my teacher. … His work is super functional and brings functionality with aesthetics.”

According to Davison, the chances of a student as passionate and committed to ceramics as Prokhorov passing through a teacher’s classroom is one in a million.

“I’ve been teaching in the public school system for about 10 years now,” Davison said. “I’ve had a few other star pupils but nobody ever at this level, and especially at this level of commitment. … It’s hard to find a student that not only loves ceramics but also loves to teach and is a natural teacher.”

Prokhorov hopes to attend Alfred University in the fall in order to continue studying ceramics. She’s excited by the prospect of being surrounded by others who are as passionate about ceramics as she is and, on a lesser note, she’s ready to finally live somewhere more humid again.

Ultimately, Prokhorov plans to follow in Davison’s shoes and become an art teacher herself.

“I really fell in love with teaching here. He (Davison) always told me that teaching is the best path to mastery,” she said. “I fell in love with it. I have a passion for teaching.”

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