I first found clay under the sand along lakes and rivers in the Mississippi River Valley. I loved the feel and smell of clay. My Great Uncle Frank lived on the family homestead in a brick house made from clay dug from the hillside. By the time I was born, the kilns had long lay dormant, and many a child was found rooting around for bricks on the property. I figured I came by my love of clay naturally.
Graduating with an Elementary Education/Art Concentration degree, I was able to take courses in ceramics. I then worked in an art studio in Ohio for two years, and my love of clay grew.
During my college years, I had backpacked in the Rocky Mountains, loving the wide open spaces. I was fortunate to apprentice with Peggy Steffes in the Bitterroot Valley in Montana, firing with wood. I continued working with fellow potters, Hal Matthews and Tom Schultz in an enterpr ise called The Warehouse, Artists’ Co-op and Gallery, in Missoula. I enjoyed getting to know fellow potters who shared their love of clay, glazes and building and firing kilns, along with graphic artists, Monte Dolack and Jim Clayborn. I went on to begin my own studio, Mill Creek Pottery in the Bitterroot Valley. Both ventures involved building and experimenting with gas kilns.
While in Montana, I met my husband and life coach, Bill. In the midst of raising four wonderful children, we moved back to my home state of Minnesota. By the time our third child was born, I surrendered the life of pottery and art fairs. In keeping with my children’s schedule, I enlisted myself as a day care provider and later as an elementary school teacher. I retired in 2015 after 25 years of teaching third grade. I loved working with children!
As our children went off to college, I spent more of my weekends and summers exploring the realm of stoneware clay and glazes fired in an electric kiln. At first I strove to replicate the effects of reduction in wood and gas firings. Now I have come to embrace the beauty of an oxidized atmosphere and the range of color on both brown and white stoneware clay. Seven years ago, my husband remodeled our garage and turned it into a beautiful studio, bringing me out of the basement. I have come full circle and am devoting my time to pottery.