Northern Clay Center's July Featured Artists

Northern Clay Center's July Featured Artists

Northern Clay Center presents an exhibition highlighting their July featured artists.

About the Artists:

Mike Helke
Stillwater, MN

Mike Helke received his MFA in ceramic art from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University, and his BFA from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. A former NCC studio artist, he currently maintains a studio in Stillwater, Minnesota. Helke received a Jerome Ceramic Artist Project Grant in 2008 and the Red Wing Collectors Society Foundation Award in 2006. He’s an assistant professor of art/ceramics at the University of Wisconsin – River Falls, and has been a visiting artist, lecturer, juror, and workshop leader at clay centers and universities across the United States. In 2017, he received a Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grant, and in January 2020, Helke was featured in Ceramics Monthly with a “Spotlight Interview.” About his work, Helke says, “Each piece physically and conceptually records an animate sensibility derived from my experiences. This record is the catalyst for a call-and-response relationship that exists between maker, object, and user.”

Amy Joy Hosterman
Loveland, CO

Fascinated by rocks, dirt, history, and process, Amy Joy Hosterman has been researching and collecting wild clays and minerals across the country since earning her BFA in ceramics from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities in 2010. Her work focuses on the continual study of clay and its role in the natural cycles of our terrestrial world, and comments on our absurd relationships with our environment. Hosterman covers her slab-built pottery in repetitive illustrations, using stamps to narrate complex stories with simplified images, and contrasts the bare clay surface with brightly colored commercial glazes. Hosterman co-founded the Visitor Center Artist Camp (Ewen, MI), a near-wilderness artist residency and environmental arts workshop site in Upper Michigan, where she has developed and directed the Wild Clay Workshop each summer since 2014. She creates under the name Stinky Cheese Ceramics at her studio in Loveland, CO, and teaches workshops while traveling and hunting for wild clays across the country.

Jan McKeachie Johnston
River Falls, WI

Jan McKeachie Johnston studied at the University of Minnesota, Southern Illinois University, and received her BFA from the University of Wisconsin–River Falls. Since 1979 she has been very active in teaching workshops and demonstrations, working in her Wisconsin studio, and has recently served as an adjunct professor of ceramics at UWRF. For the past 25 years, she has participated in significant exhibitions throughout the United States. She is represented in many private and public collections, including the Chrysler Museum in Norfolk, Virginia; the Weisman Art Museum at the University of Minnesota; and the Minneapolis Institute of Art. Additionally, her work has been featured in Clay Times and Ceramics Monthly.

Mike Norman
St. Paul, MN

Perhaps one might learn about me—and consequently my work—by reading this poem by Bill Holm:

Someone dancing inside us / has learned only a few steps:
the “Do-Your-Work” in 4/4 time,
the “What-Do-You-Expect” Waltz.
He hasn’t noticed yet the woman / standing away from the lamp.
the one with the black eyes / who knows the rumba.
and strange steps in jumpy rhythms,
from the mountains of Bulgaria.
If they dance together / something unexpected will happen;
if they don’t, the next world / will be a lot like this one.

Image: Amy Joy Hosterman

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