Director's Report

By the time this newsletter finds its way into your hands, we’ll likely be in the midst of early winter (at least in the Midwest we’ll be)…snow starting to fall…the autumn mums already past tense…cabin fever starting to set in. Somehow, we as Midwesterners continue to endure this 5-month “season”. 

While frigid temps and slippery commutes can cause even the most gung-ho Minnesotans to promise they’ll leave town next winter in search of balmy beaches and little drinks with umbrellas in them, the majority of us manage to survive the winter through self-created therapies. These include baking and nesting, outdoor athletics, eating, or the occasional exposure to the SAD light. To each her own, obviously, but to those of you reading this, I propose another therapy to help you manage another Minnesota winter:  Northern Clay Center. 

The weather outside may be frightful, but the fires of our kilns ensure the insides of NCC will always be warm and toasty, a welcome place to visit during the five months of winter that lay ahead. As the temperatures are dropping outside and the snowfall is building up, the Center stays open (sans the occasional snow emergency) and continues to provide a place of respite for any ceramic enthusiast’s interests or abilities. 

Here, in no particular order, are five, fun and fulfilling opportunities — one per each long month of winter — that are sure to keep your heart and mind warm:

  1. November 17, 12 – 4 pm: NCC’s 23rd Annual Holiday Open House. This FREE event combines our favorite things to do in cold weather—making art + shopping + eating + fellowshipping. Perfect for the whole family!
  2. December 7, 12 – 2 pm: Intergenerational Workshop. Bring your favorite grandchild, sibling, neighbor, or co-worker to NCC for this free hands-on holiday gift-making extravaganza. 
  3. January 10, 6:30 – 8:30 pm: Get ready to do a little regional traveling! Drive yourself over the state line to Hudson, Wisconsin, and join us for the opening reception for Earth and Water: Ceramic Art in the St. Croix Valley, a collaborative exhibition produced by NCC and The Phipps Center for the Arts. In this multi-year collaboration, our institutions will join forces to produce a series of exhibitions that feature the clay talents of the St.Croix Valley watershed. Willem Gebben, of Colfax, WI, will be featured in the exhibition opening January 10th. Get to know your Wisconsin neighbors and discover a real gem of an art center. Visit for more information.
  4. February 8, 2 – 4 pm: Now that you’ve embraced winter travel, we invite you to partake in another, slightly longer road trip in the name of clay. Perfect for the ultimate Midwesterner; put on your snow tires, fill your thermos with hot cocoa, and make the gorgeous drive up to the Plains Art Museum in Fargo, ND, for Red River Reciprocity: Ceramic Artists from Minnesota and North Dakota, a collaborative exhibition produced by NCC and the Plains Art Museum. A day of artist demos and conversations will precede the opening reception, and glorious hotel rooms abound in Fargo. See page 8 for more information.
  5. March 8 and 9, 10 am – 4 pm, both days: Take a little me-time in the late winter to develop your decorating techniques under the direction of NCC’s winter McKnight artist-in-residence, Sanam Emami. Go ahead and treat yourself to some hands-on instruction, sip some coffee, and make some new friends; nurture your inner artist.

A bonus opportunity for all of you who are place-bound and not able to travel to the Center to take advantage of its programs in person: put on a pot of coffee, grab another slice of that crumb cake you just made, curl up with your laptop, and visit us on our newly redesigned website at We have hundreds of pots at your fingertips, ready to be purchased, wrapped, and shipped to your home (or the home of a loved one). Learn about the latest exhibitions and our visiting artists. Read interesting interviews with our sales gallery artists. Watch videos of your favorite NCC artists. All of us here at Northern Clay Center wish you a wonderful winter and we look forward to you spending it with us!

Sarah Millfelt

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