Born in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Higby received a B.F.A. from the University of Colorado at Boulder, in 1966, and an M.F.A. from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, in 1968. Since 1973, he has been on the faculty of the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University, Alfred, NY.
Working both as a ceramic artist and an educator, Higby has earned international recognition since his one-person show at the American Craft Museum in 1973. His work focuses on “landscape imagery as a focal point of meditation”, and ranges from the vessel form to tile and sculptural works. Rather than focusing on its functional aspects, Higby uses the vessel form as a vehicle for imagery, often inspired by the western landscapes of his childhood, that highlights the interplay between light, space, and time.
“I strive to establish a zone of quiet coherence – a place full of silent, empty space where finite and infinite, intimate and immense intersect.”
The American Craft Museum considers him a “visionary of the American Crafts Movement” and recognized him as one of seven artists who are “genuine living legends representing the best of American arttists in their chosen medium.”
He is known for his inventive use of Raku earthenware, and an interest in porcelain following his experiences travelling and lecturing in China, where he has worked with artists to revitalize Chinese Ceramic art. He is Honorary President and co-founder(with Jackson Li) of the Sanbao Ceramic Art Institute at Jingdezhen, and an Honorary Professor of Art at both the Jingdezhen Ceramic Institute and at Shanghai University, People’s Republic of China.
He is also vice president of the International Academy of Ceramics in Geneva, Switzerland.