After years working alongside his dad at the family bronze foundry, Qwist received his BFA in pottery from Colorado State University. He went on to complete assistantships for Del Harrow and Sanam Emami in Fort Collins, as well as Greenwich House Pottery in New York City. Later, he earned an MFA in ceramic sculpture from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In 2016 he was selected as an emerging artist by Ceramics Monthly and a Windgate scholar summer resident by the Archie Bray Foundation in Helena, Montana. Currently, he lives and teaches in Riverside, California.