It really is the rare bird who can traipse back and forth between the world of sculpture and functional pottery with ease. Perhaps therein lies the misconception, “ease” plays no part in it. Rather a dedication to content and artisanship are the constant companion to a maker who keeps every tool sharpened and at the ready to explore and express and create as needed when needed. These are the makers we can rely upon as keepers of the craft. Melissa Menicini is such a maker.
It’s Raku, an ancient Japanese tradition modified over centuries and across borders to become something of a standard experience for entry level ceramic students. Raku has borne the critical rebuke familiar to other flashy finishes across various industries, think about ruffles, velvet, red lipstick, sequins, or glitter. However, in the right hands, Raku surfaces celebrate the alchemy of carbon and mineral, reflecting all the colors of nature.
Billie Jean Van Knight started taking classes at NCC this summer, but she really caught our attention as a stellar volunteer during the 2018 American Pottery Festival. She seemed to be everywhere and was happy to join in the work and the fun! After being away from clay for 18 years, a trip to the St. Croix Pottery Tour reignited her love for clay and our friends on the tour pointed her in our direction. Shout out to St. Croix!
From 2001 – 2011 Sandra Daulton Shaughnessy taught in the NCC classrooms and was much beloved by students and administration alike. When she left, she didn’t go far. Her considerable gifts have been in play at the Edina Art Center where she has been the Pottery Supervisor. The ever-expanding concentric rings of the ceramic community continue because of her contributions to the field.
Steven Godfrey lives in the largest state in the union, where he has plenty of room to consider the smaller, significant moments that can get taken for granted. Things like the light of day, or lack thereof, become familiar points of reflection. Steve will be leading a workshop at the American Pottery Festival next week with Sam Chung. Register here.
Northern Clay Center community student Emiliano Cerna-Rios maintains a studio in Northeast Minneapolis and is an avid runner and cyclist. His first training in art was in painting.
He began to experiment with three dimensional work in the winter of 2016, which led him to take his first class at NCC, “…just out of curiosity.” The handbuilding class he enrolled in grabbed his imagination and he has been working in clay ever since!
Guillermo Guardia is a relatively recent addition to the alchemy of ceramic artists in the Twin Cities and NCC has been delighted to have his talents represented on our teaching roster, in the sales gallery, and as a 2018 American Pottery Festival artist. Guardia creates colorful figures and functional wares emblazoned with glyphs representing his Peruvian and Japanese heritage. Born in Peru, he has lived in the US since 2002 and remains in active pursuit of his artistic endeavors throughout his life journey.
Jennica Kruse began teaching children’s summer classes at NCC nine years ago, moving into teaching adult classes in 2013. She says, “Hanging out with our awesome students is my favorite part of teaching!” If you take a class with Jennica you will be supported in developing your persistence, because, as she says, “Time spent at the wheel pays off.”
What is your relationship with NCC?
Right now, I’m a donor and I support NCC because I love ceramics. I buy quite a bit, but NCC is such a big part of my life that it’s difficult to say where one role ends and another begins.
How did you get involved with NCC?