I began a lifelong love of ceramics at 9 when I learned to throw from a Japanese potter at Carleton College. I made pots in high school, and worked for a potter
then went on to study art at Macalester and the University of Minnesota where I earned a BFA.
Directly after college, a move to Chicago led me to Lill Street studios where I began working & teaching pottery as well as at several other institutions; marrying and raising a family along the way.
In 2008, I started participating in shows and art fairs on a full-time basis; eventually moving back to Minnesota in 2012 where I began teaching at the Northern Clay Center. I continue to work full time as a potter creating, with 9 fellow Northfield potters, the Cannon River Clay Tour, now in its 5th year!
My studio is in my grandfather’s old milking parlor on the ancestral farm where I live with my family; surrounded by our small flock of feral cats, the trees my grandfather planted and the fertile earth.
I strive to make beautiful, yet highly functional pots that will find an intimate niche in the daily lives of the people who take them home.
My work is created with the hope that it will be aesthetically pleasing to people who will choose it for their use instead of the mass-produced stuffout there; that something that is designed to be balanced for use, scaled to the hand, and created by another person will be more profoundly satisfying to use and more pleasing to look at.
Images are frequently inspired by the surface or the pot suggests a design or perhaps I am inspired by something I have seen recently that will suit the form.
The surface decoration is a reflection of my love of the natural world and the belief in the restorative power of being outside.
It is my desire to share the pleasure I take in noticing my environment: patterns of leaves, how a bird perches on a reed, the silhouettes of trees just after sundown.
My work can call people’s attention to these things with the hope that they will value them as I do and that these qualities can nourish them just as much as does the food that is served or made in my pots.
The constraint of functionality challenges and inspires me. I endeavor to make forms that are balanced and beautiful but are not constructed exclusively to show off the surface. They are shaped for inherent harmony and pleasing lines; the form inspires the surface and the surface enhances the form.
I love pottery. I can’t describe the pleasure I feel looking at, and handling pots.
Perhaps it is for the same reason I love cave paintings. There is some sort of communication that goes on between “makers”- those who have made the pots or cave paintings – and those who currently “make”. Our hand marks are on our work.
To work with my hands gives me deep satisfaction; to make. I make containers.
I find myself seduced by containers of all sorts. Perhaps because we ourselves are containers- not only physically of our organs and the food we eat but also of our experiences, emotions we have, impressions of people we know, the beauty we see.
I use all that to make things out of clay.
I love all kinds of pottery. I love tiny legged Mayan pots; Greek pottery, the black and white sherds of Anasazi pots; I love handmade things I use on a daily basis made by friends; I love ceramic finds at Salvation Army: the terra cotta oval dish made in Mexico for tourists, a majolica candy dish made in Italy, a slip-cast yellow planter in the shape of a Ping-like duck, the “low” Delftware I inherited from my grandmother. I love old mixing bowls, Fiestaware™, restaurant plates, my fine china, funky Japanese and Chinese mass-produced bowls. I love my sink and my toilet; tiles, masks, lamps, flower pots, knobs, frames, ornaments; ceramic pieces, broken and whole from an excavation next door. The terra cotta on so many historic buildings in Chicago like the Reebie Building; the pieces in my garden that used to adorn an industrial laundry that they tore down around the corner. Heck, I love the little insulators that hold the heating element inside my toaster.
You can make just about anything out of clay; including a house and there are several ways to do even that!
Watch Maria Martinez, Native American potter of New Mexico, gather up some dust from the ground, mix it with sand and water and make a pot. It borders on miraculous.
If clay was alive, it would be a dog, our eternal friend, loyal and ever-ready to do our bidding.
Klaus Oldenburg had a great quote I came across:
“I am for an art that is political-erotical-mystical, that does something other than sit on its ass in a museum. I am for an art that grows up not knowing it is art at all, an art given the chance of having a starting point of zero. I am for an art that embroils itself with the everyday crap & still comes out on top.”
Here’s another quote that says it another way:
The beautiful rests on the foundations of the necessary.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
My images are those of a country girl who lived in the city too long and is always looking for the beauty in nature. I tend to draw trees and birds with a few animals thrown in.
My work is functional and meant to be used, lived with on a frequent basis and, I hope, enhancing people’s daily life.