Teaching Artist Spotlight: Priya Thoreson

Priya Thoresen will be joining the roster of teaching artists at Northern Clay Center in the new year. You may already be familiar with Priya’s work and not know it as she was featured on the cover of Ceramics Monthly when she was named one of their 2018 Emerging Artists. Get to know her a little better in the conversation to follow and consider signing up for her class. Priya will be teaching Sculptural Abstraction on Wednesday nights from 6:30 – 9:30 PM starting June 19.

We are lucky to live in a region that continues to draw and develop new talent in the field of ceramics and we hope you revel in the access as you develop your own clay story. 

NCC: What brought you to Minneapolis and NCC?
PT: I moved to Minneapolis in 2017 right after finishing my MFA at Arizona State University. I have extended family in the area, had been offered an adjunct position at the U, and knew that the state of Minnesota does a lot to support the arts. Volunteering for Northern Clay Center's APF and a few other events over the last year seemed like a logical way to get out and see some great art and meet other people who are interested in ceramics. 

NCC: What is your favorite thing about teaching?
PT: It never gets boring, and there's always something new learn, a problem to solve, or an idea to think about. Seeing how students grow with new skills or come up with new ideas that I never would have thought of are some of the things that keep me going.  

NCC: What do you think is the most fundamental skill set for success in ceramics?
PT: If I can give two answers, it’s both being stubborn and not giving up when something doesn't turn out right the first (or second) time, but also trying to stay open minded about what your expectations are for a specific piece. 

NCC: Will you share a memorable moment from the classroom?
PT: There was a time when I had a critique with a visiting artist. I didn't really like her work that much, but she had a current show at the Guggenheim, so why not? In graduate school there's often a pressure to be able to explain your work and have a reason for everything. She told me that if simply being attracted to a form is good enough for 50 years of male painters, it's good enough for you. So while I haven't given up the idea of having reasons for what I do, my perspective has shifted, and I've given myself more permission to make things without over-thinking them.