Monica Rudquist

Monica Rudquist works primarily in porcelain and is known for the distinctive spiral shapes she achieves. “I love forming a piece of clay on the wheel while it is in a fluid state and I am compelled to create forms which retain this fluidity and gesture,” the Minneapolis artist explains. “I am curious about how far I can push the clay. I test these limits by cutting and recombining thrown forms. This begins a dialogue with the clay that spurs more questionsand responses to the developing form. I choose to work with traditionally functional objects because it introduces the possibility of creating sculptural forms that relate to people on a personal level.”

Monica holds a BA at Macalester College, St. Paul, and an MFA at Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, MI. She has earned awards at the 57th Street Art Fair, Hyde Park, IL; the Minnesota Craft Council Festival, St. Paul; the Uptown Art Fair, Minneapolis; and Art Fair on the Square in Madison, WI. Her work is represented in collections including those of the Minnesota Historical Society and the St. Paul Companies. Formerly a teacher at the Edina Art Center, Edina, MN and St. Olaf College, Northfield, MN, she is currently a ceramics instructor at St. Catherine University in St. Paul.

S.C. Rolf

“My work employs the physical process of layering which describes a sense of growth of the pot, both inward and outward. The addition and subtraction of the material leave a record of time in the work,” states potter Steven Rolf. “As a maker of one-of-a-kind functional objects, I use the premise that I transmit feeling through the subtle touch in working. I feel that in order for the user to ‘get it’ they must also touch the work. Therefore, my pieces are not metaphors for landscape and feeling, but rather they are the landscape and they embody the feeling.”

The artist holds an MFA from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University, a BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute, and a BS in broad area arts from the University of Wisconsin River Falls. He apprenticed under Wang Hui Ming, a master painter and wood engraver.

Steven has been a studio potter in River Falls, WI since 1998. In 2006, he participated a residency at the Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts in Newcastle, ME. The artist lectures and teaches workshops throughout the country. His work, regularly exhibited nationwide, was recently featured in the Onggi Expo Uslan Korea in Uslan City. Steven’s pottery is represented in collections including those of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, the American Museum of Ceramic Art in Pomona, CA, and, the artist notes, in “numerous kitchen cupboards.”

Jude Ryan Reiling

Jude Ryan Reiling came to clay through study of drawing, painting and photography. An artist who is not afraid to explore new directions, her current work is a series of sculptural sketches of robed figures, often holding birds and vessels. Over the years, Jude has produced notable series in functional carved porcelain and wood-fired vessels decorated in Japanese graphics. She explains, “Although working in such diverse ways may be unusual, it is part of my commitment to following a creative muse without severely editing the direction.”

Jude’s sculptures are textured with rolled and carved patterns that stem from the artist’s love of graphic design. She employs a variety of clay bodies, firings and finishes in this work. Although they are related and present beautifully in groups, each one-of-a-kind figure has a personality of its own – a cocked head, hands folded, a bird perched on the shoulder. Jude strives to have each evoke “an internal world of human emotion: wonder and hope, the solitary and the sad.”

“I am interested in exploring the brink where my own emotion meets matter and is communicated,” she states. “I like the fact that the figures have a universal, mythic quality. Most seem feminine although that is not always important to me. To create the sculptures I think of rituals, experiences and emotions that are both personal and universal. I express them using concrete symbols and precise gestural form.”

In 2008 and 2009, Jude, a Minneapolitan who maintains a studio in Hudson, WI, created figures in collaboration with floral artist Sue Bagge for the Minneapolis Institute of Arts’ annual Art in Bloom event.

Kelly Jean Ohl

Intrigued by how sensory awareness affects the experience of visual art, Kelly Jean Ohl uses texture and sound in her sculptural ceramic work to promote engagement with the senses. “This is my way of acknowledging that the work was meant to be touched. It’s part of the experience,” she states. Many of Kelly Jean’s pieces function as rattles. They remind people of things they have found on the forest floor, touched in a tide pool or viewed under a microscope. “My ceramic pieces aren’t any of these things in particular,” the artist explains. “They are small abstract objects that reference many biological entities without being any one specifically.”

Kelly Jean starts her surfaces with applied textiles, kitchen utensils and household tools. Each piece is hand carved, burnished and sanded, going through multiple firings as layers of hand-painted oxides are applied. “Texture is a great way to invite the viewer to use their senses other than sight to experience my work, not only to look but to touch and listen and explore the work in ways we are often not encouraged to,” says the artist. “When someone picks up one of my pieces they see the detailed carving, feel the unique tactile quality of the surface and then also realize that the piece makes sounds.”

Kelly Jean holds an MFA from the University of Michigan Ann Arbor and an MA from Minnesota State University, Mankato. She has won multiple grants for her work, which has been featured in several solo exhibitions. Her clay pieces are included in the collections of the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, Ann Arbor and the Touchable Art Gallery at the Duke Eye Center, Duke University, Durham, NC. Her work appears in the books Create the Space You Deserve, Jill Butler and The American Ceramic Society’s From Mud to Music. Kelly Jean lives and works in Lanesboro, MN.

Nawal Motawi

At their Ann Arbor, MI studio, Nawal Motawi and her staff of talented artisans carry on American tile-making traditions, crafting beautifully made work from locally-produced clay and signature glazes mixed on-site. Nawal, who opened the tileworks in 1992, studied sculpture and ceramics at the University of Michigan and learned tile-making techniques at Pewabic Pottery in Detroit. She acts as chief designer while her brother Karim, who recently left the company, assisted with establishing studio and process innovation. Nawal’s aesthetic influences include the work of early 20th century decorative artists such as Mary Chase Stratton, Lois Sullivan, and Dard Hunter. In 2007, Motawi Tileworks formed a partnership with the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation to produce a line based on historic Wright motifs, and, in 2008, added designs by Japanese wood block artist Yoshiko Yamamoto.

Tiles from Nawal’s studio present handsomely as is or in Motawi’s bespoke solid oak frames. Karim has stated: “Motawi tile has a warm rustic charm that is impossible to achieve with mass production. So we make our tile the old fashioned way. We pore over the histories of old tileworks seeking design inspiration and production techniques. More than once we have looked at an old photograph and said, ‘Aha! That’s how they did that!’ And now that’s how we do it too.”

Ernest Miller

Gorgeous, expertly formed works from Minneapolis ceramist Ernest Miller attest to his motto: “I like clay. A lot.” His passion for the material leads the artist and instructor to create both his signature crystalline-glazed porcelain vessels and plates and the utilitarian stoneware made as teaching examples.

In 1998, Ernest earned his BA at Eastern Illinois University. “In the ceramics studio,” he recalls, “I had the opportunity to work with stoneware and porcelain, and to finish with raku firing, soda/salt firing, wood firing, reduction firing, and crystalline glazing. During this time, I was able to express myself prolifically and the love of clay became unmistakably evident.” Ernest worked as a potter in Champaign, IL before moving to Minneapolis in 2000 to establish a studio and a busy exhibition and teaching schedule.

“As a vessel maker,” the artist states, “I use porcelain clay to create bottles, plates and bowls that serve both utilitarian and decorative purposes. The cohesion of the glaze and vessel are a continual pursuit exercised through glaze alchemy and the investigation of ceramic form. Inspiration is drawn from everyday objects, architecture, and landscape along with the fascination of the creative process, focused work, and trusting the practiced hand and eye.
Most of my work is made with porcelain clay that is mixed and pugged in studio. The pieces usually begin on the potter’s wheel and later hand altered and trimmed. Once dried and bisque fired they are coated with glaze and finish fired to 2,250 degrees Fahrenheit.”




emiller plate


Marge Margulies

“The intent of my ceramic work is to create organic, flowing compositions which serve as lively and useful centerpieces,” states Guerneville, CA clay artist Marge Margulies. “In these random and conscious groupings, which resemble things found in nature, elements of shape are combined, emphasizing fluid forms and rich, subtle color relationships. My work is inspired by such wide-ranging influences as topographical features, flower arrangements, abstract expressionist paintings and my mother’s Danish Modern furniture and Passover dishes. I am constantly striving to make pottery that is substantial yet lighthearted and that adds richness and vitality to any environment.”

Each earthenware piece is wheel thrown, then altered by pushing and stretching and painted with custom colored glazes. Working with a diverse palette, Marge intends that her pieces be mixed and matched at the table and keeps compatible color combinations in mind. While the work is food safe and dishwasher safe, the artist recommends only light use in the microwave.

Marge earned a BFA in ceramics from the Philadelphia College of Art, spending a year studying abroad at the Tyler School of Art in Rome. She worked as a studio potter in the Philadelphia for 27 years before moving to Northern California in 2008. She regularly participates in national exhibitions including the Smithsonian Craft Show, the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show, Crafts at the Castle in Boston, the American Craft Council Show in Baltimore, Cherry Creek Arts Festival in Denver and the Sausalito Art Festival.


Samuel Johnson

After graduating with Distinction from the University of Minnesota, Morris, Samuel Johnson apprenticed with Richard Bresnahan from 1996 until 1999—the longest apprenticeship in the studio’s thirty year history. In 2000, he studied Scandinavian ceramic design at Denmark’s Design School in Copenhagen. While in Denmark, he also worked at the International Ceramic Center in Skaelskor. In 2001, Sam traveled to Japan and worked for a time in the studio of the renowned potter Koie Ryoji, but also took the opportunity to visit other notable ceramists including Goro Suzuki, Kanzaki Shiho, Isezaki Jun and Ryuichi Kakurezaki. After returning to the U.S. he enrolled in the graduate program at the University of Iowa, completing his M.F.A. in 2005. Since that time, he has worked as Assistant Professor of Art at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University.

Sam’s technical mastery and understanding of pottery is formidable and his work often reflects his ongoing investigations. Presently he continues to produce finely finished robust forms whose somber palette results from natural wood firing of unglazed iron-rich clay. Recently, he also began to produce works with a fine white, porcelaneous slip applied over a dark clay body—reminiscent of Korean Buncheong ware (known as Kohiki in Japan). Shadows of the underlying clay are revealed where the slip pulls thin across the undulating body. The effect is artfully casual, and yet chaste and solemn.

Dr. Matthew Welch
Curator, Stoked: Five Artists of Fire and Clay
Saint John’s University, Collegeville, MN; 2010

Tom Jaszczak

“Line and form drive my making,” explains this Minneapolis potter, whose easy, functional forms are developing a following at the Grand Hand. “Most of my shaping is done on the wheel head after the form is thrown. I work in an aggressive way, pushing, pulling and scraping to show the softness of the clay. Formally, my work has volume, it appears full. My surfaces are raw, but soft like skin, fluid like soft clay. Wood firing accents all the subtleties that I am interested in and leaves the clay’s true character.”

Tom holds degrees in biology and in visual art from Bemidji State University. He studied at Oxford University and served as a studio assistant at the Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina. In 2011, the artist received a Jerome Foundation projects grant and an Artist Initiative Grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. He was a summer resident at the Archie Bray Foundation, and is slated to return to the Montana institution in 2012.

Peter Jadoonath

Peter Jadoonath’s textured pots are formed by squeezing, paddling, pinching, coiling, smashing, polishing and carving clay. “I find inspiration from scientific mystery, unexplained history, small complex ideas and large simple ideas,” he states. “Through my craft it is important for me to honor timelessness, tradition, ancestors and predecessors. I strive for this by following my intuition, seeking self-realization, working hard and gathering the patience to take risks … The pots I make are functional, they are meant to hold objects and ideas. The pottery shapes are loose, broad, open to suggestion, and open to interpretation.”

The potter holds a BFA from Bemidji State University. In 2000, established a studio in St. Paul’s historic Lowertown district. He is the recipient of both a Jerome Artists Grant and a Minnesota State Arts Board Grant. “Minnesota has a thick, dense, woven history of pottery and the groundwork has been laid by all our predecessors which I am very thankful for,” states Peter. “I believe in the Midwestern tradition and the esthetic evolving from it … I continue to make pots, experiment, and learn from my regional arts community.”

Peter’s statement on process:

I stumbled onto pottery at Bemidji State University in 1996, without any thoughts that this many years later I would still be pushing clay around. I suppose most people who end up having a practice for a lifetime do not look that far ahead in the very beginning. The joy of the practice is being in the present and enjoying the immediate response. Currently I live in St. Paul and make pots in the basement. I regularly sell pots through regional studio tours, galleries and art fairs.

I focus on making functional stoneware pottery. I pay close attention to texture, gesture, and balance. I was always into drawing and doodling before I ever touched clay, so it is very natural for me to incise, impress, and carve designs into the pottery shapes. I use texture as a graphic device, and to develop composition. Sometimes it’s a bit much, but I guess that’s just part of the process of pushing out new ideas. Most of the pots start out wheel thrown, then some of them get pushed around. I use techniques such a folding, carving, smashing, and cutting to alter the shapes and surfaces of the pots.

It is also very important for me to carefully mind the ergonomic aspects of the pottery shapes. Proper-fitting lids, sharp spouts, comfortable rims, and soft handles are examples of the quality I pursue in my craft. I glaze pots with iron rich washes, clay slips, and soft matte glazes. It is important that the glaze skin and the pottery forms bond to make a unified three-dimensional statement. All of the pots I make are fired to 2350 degrees Farenheit. It is very important that the pots are sturdy, dependable, and provoke a sense of ease.

Buy Peter’s work online here.