Minnesota New Institute for Ceramic Education (MN NICE) is a certificate program. The curriculum gives students an overview of ceramic history, advanced technical and materials training, and encourages awareness and debate around larger questions in the field of ceramics. Focusing on critical dialogue helps students build a body of work reflecting their own ideas. Ursula Hargens, co-collaborator and Program Head for MN NICE, leads weekly seminars and coordinating field trips.
MN NICE Graduates will feature the work of emerging artists from the 2018 and 2017 graduating MN NICE classes. Their collective works represent the exploration of expression through clay – from functional vessels to graceful and impetuous sculpture. Bodies of work evolved through one-on-one dialogue with mentoring artists, lively group critiques, and individual guided research.
Logan Chyla, a ceramic artist and software engineer lives and works in Minneapolis making wheel-thrown, functional tableware. Chyla focuses on soda firing, utilizing flashing slips and various clays to cultivate his palette. Chyla reveres the unpredictable flame and soda marks of atmospheric firing. He strives for objects reflective of his fascination with the entire ceramic process.
Peter D’Ascoli has actively worked in ceramics and medicine for more than 40 years. Drawn first by clay’s tactility, he has created a body of utilitarian work punctuated by sentinel objects. Working both on and off the wheel, he presents strong form with critical attention to surface.
Becky David came to Minneapolis from Waynesburg, Pennsylvania, with a BA and BS in business administration from Waynesburg University. Working as a teacher for various art schools and organizations, she studied and applied alternative firing techniques. She explores growth, inner-reflection, and the ability of the mind to sustain itself during unexpected transitions with clay.
Margaret Gavin-Hanner, long fascinated by the ceramic process, began as a functional maker in 2009. Studies of art history, a lifelong appreciation of handmade objects, and careful observation of the natural world inspire her. She creates durable pottery, enveloped in colorful designs, with a visible connection to the maker’s hand.
Michaela Maupin lives and works as an art teacher in the Twin Cities region. She graduated from the University of Northwestern–St. Paul with dual degrees in education and studio art. She focuses on themes of the subconscious, psyche, and human interactions.
Risa Nishiguchi received a BFA with a concentration in ceramics from Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana, before moving to Minneapolis. While she maintains her first interest in utility, a more recent exploration of materials led to a sculptural series, expressing the complex fragile tensions between fiber and clay.
Andrew Rivera is a graduate of the University of Minnesota–Duluth, with a concentration in ceramics and sculpture. Finding inspiration through function, sculpture, design, and culture, his wares reflect on personal identity and the sentimentality of objects. Rivera currently resides in Missoula, Montana, where he is a long-term resident at The Clay Studio of Missoula.
Susan Schweitzer lives in Minneapolis and holds a BFA in graphic design. Schweitzer’s ceramic work integrates her design background through texture and form. She has exhibited at Northern Clay Center and is a participating artist for Blue House Uganda, an organization supporting a women’s school in Uganda. Schweitzer’s functional forms celebrate cultural influences from her travels.
Jenny Weber received her BFA in ceramics from the University of Iowa. While in MN NICE, Weber received both the Emerging Artist Booth at Art at St. Kate’s and the Jim Loso Legacy Award at the Millstream Art Fair. Community plays an important role in her work. At a time when differences are amplified, her wares reflect our common roots.