Studio Artist Interview: Sue Bergan

The Artist: 
A loyal, native Minnesotan born here and raised all over the state.

The Past:
I started at the University of Minnesota—Duluth in the sciences, took an elective ceramics class from Glenn Nelson, and was hooked by clay. At the end of four years, I was an art teacher, not a biologist!  I spent a few years with 7th through 9th graders and a lot more time leading workshops through the Minnesota State Arts Board. For many years I was a watercolor artist and papermaker. 

The Present: 
About ten years ago, my daughter’s birthday request was that I take a ceramics class with her at Northern Clay Center. I now have a private studio at NCC (with a sunny window) and enjoy the potters around me. The visiting artists are a wonderful source of inspiration on so many levels.

The Future:
My next goal is to refine my unique porcelain layering technique and to develop a market for those pots.

The Work:
A good deal of my work is functional stoneware:  casseroles, plates, mugs, which I sell and also give as gifts. The color block casseroles seem to be the most popular. In porcelain, I make plates and vessels using slips and stains to form abstract landscapes that reflect my painter/papermaker background. I layer clays in a rather experimental way. Not all are successful or even survive the firing. I like the challenge of difficult— maybe impossible — tasks.

Tell me it can’t be done and I will probably try to do it.