Renaissance Man Doesn’t Settle

“Sometimes doubt creeps in your head. You have to put that aside and build your following.” - Clayton Barnett

“Sometimes doubt creeps in your head . . . you have to put that aside and build your following.”


A renaissance man is defined as an individual with many talents or areas of talent, and Empowered alumni Clayton Barnett certainly meets that definition.

Barnett is an alumni of the the inaugural Empowered graduating class of 2017 at The Independent School in Wichita, Kansas.

“I remember learning that you can pretty much do anything in life as long as you plan and you have researched the market,” he said. “You don’t have to have others make decisions for you.”

Clayton has certainly been making his own decisions since graduation. He did well with his Garden Pots at the Wichita State University Regional Competition. Since then, it’s been full steam ahead for this alumni – learning and growing in the arts. He is now a celebrated ceramicist, stained glass artist, photographer, industrial seamster, and a glass maker.

“I was working in stained glass when I researched who made the actual sheets of glass,” said Clayton.

After finding a video of people casting glass at Bulleye’s Glass in Portland, Oregon, he was hooked.

“I was already thinking about Portland,” he said, “and the process was so cool.”

With solid research and a plan, the Empowered alumni headed to Portland. He now works with liquid glass, handling temperatures that reach up to 2500 degrees. He started in a flex position but was a quick learner and moved right into casting. One big lesson from Clayton’s participation in Empowered was the fact that artists have worth.

“Learning to market yourself as an artist is key,” said Clayton. “Sometimes that doubt creeps in your head, but you have to put that doubt aside and sell yourself and build your following.”

Another key concept from Empowered that stays with him is the principle of integrity. Clayton has seen many management styles working in different forms of the arts, and integrity is a real focus for him.

“I’ve learned how to treat both customers and employees,” he shared. With knowledge of his value and understanding the importance of integrity, Clayton has his eyes on the future.

“With the connections I am making, and the skills I have learned, my next goal is to establish my own studio space,” he said. “I’ve done the market research, and there are some real needs for stained glass and stained-glass repair on old houses in Portland.”

Without settling, Clayton is building his craft to continue doing his own thing. “I do what I want in life. No one makes decisions for me,” said Clayton. Tap below to see Clayton (in the white baseball cap) in action . . .

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