Below are progressive images in the development of a Cantaro made on a wheel similar to the first potters wheels found in eastern Europe and as far east as Armenia dating back to 2700 BCE. This area was settled by the Celts. The man firing the Celtic kiln is red headed. Bag pipes can also be found in this region of NW Castile near Galicia in Spain.
During my time as a Senior Fulbright Scholar in Spain in 1985-86 I worked in Agost, Spain at the Museo de Alfareria, now Centro Agost hosted by Ilse Schutz: Araceli decorating a Wedding Botijo with a slip applicator that uses both hands and could date back to Roman Barbotine decorating, this is the day Pepe Mollar threw 1100 morteros as seen in the background. Extreme right shows the middle chamber of a 3-story kiln being loaded with botijos.I also visited 48 pottery centers across the country documenting traditions and their origins from Celtic Kilns, to Barbertine decorating. I have written many articles about Agost published in International Crafts, Ceramics Monthly, Crafts Range magazine, Revisita Ceramica Internacional and a few in British Archeology Reports (BAR), as well as a Chapter in A Pot for All Reasons. My 14-year-old renault was referred to as "the Time Machine" because I visited so many timeless places during my year exploring traditional potters in 48 locations across Spain. I am so thankful for my amazing experiences in the ceramics world and realize how much I have seen, recorded and shared.
FULBRIGHT in SPAIN 1985-1986 plus summers of 1983-1984, 1987
Selsor explaining Mt. St. Helen's Ash in the glaze.Billings Gazette May 13, 1981
Above are the bodies of botijos before handled and spouts are added. On the right are the clay mixing basins. Chimo delivered clay from the community pit in a mule cart. Spanish Potters: Maximo smashing clay for mixing in Bonxe in Galicia, Aniano in Alba de Tormes, and Alejandra Pastor Garcia working on a turntable wheel making a casserole with micaceous clay in Pereuela, Zamora in Castile.
A few of my explorations in Alternative Firing Techniques:ceramic Sagger, obvara, foil sagger, and three with soluble salts.
"One day driving home from Billings to Huntley,Montana I passed a field of Black Angus in fresh Spring grass and immediately thought RAKU!"
The Wild Horse Range is about an hour away from my home. I love to visit the horses and look at the spectacular views from the top of Dryhead Overlook in the Pryor Mountains. They were my muses for Raku.
Gardening in Huntley,Montana on May 18, 1980 I watched the ash from Mt. St. Helen's eruption approach from the West. I later used the ash for glaze.
Of the 21 Agost potteries operating in 1985, only 4 remain active. I published an article on the three story kilns of Agost in Ceramics Monthly in 1989 and another in Revista Ceramica 1991 "Los Hornos Arabesque", P. 77 Issue 41 Revista Ceramica, Spain. One pottery fired 11,000 botijos in a month in one firing.
My studio in Red Lodge, Montana. Above is my wheel with a view of the ski slopes on Red Lodge Mountain, a foil saggar pot going to the Yellowstone Art Museum Annual Auction in which I have participated since 1976. A view of the rest of my studio with my slab roller long work table, and Xena, my dog. Below is inside the new expansion of my kiln shed are 3 electric kilns, and 4 raku stored small raku kilns. Now I can fire year-round despite snow.
I grew up in Philadelphia and started art classes at age 11 in Center City at the Philadelphia Museum College of Art.
I built a wood-fired Raku kiln up under the Rimrocks where we spent entire days firing raku at Eastern Montana College in Billings in my early days of teaching. Fastest batch we ever fired was 3 minutes by the end of the day..
Two Symposiums and a FULBRIGHT in UZBEKISTAN
Below: scenes from my three visits to Uzbekistan from 1991-1994 L-R Samarkand market in the shadow of Bebi Haneem Mosque, City snap of Khiva with an unfinished world's largest Minaret, and me with my Ceramics students at the Tashkent Institute of Art 1994 as a Senior Fulbright Scholar. This photo was taken on the day we fired raku in a kiln I made for my classes.
Joyce, Megan and I were the main crew with the help of many students and faculty who built my Rammed Earth Studio in 1977 in Huntley,MT.
Beginning in 1966 to the Philadelphia College of Art now the Philadelphia University of the Arts studied ceramics with Bill Daley, Petras Vaskys, Paula Winokur, Julia Jackson and Roland Jahn and never looked back. In 1967 I began firing Raku that year when Paul Soldner was giving a workshop at Wallingford Art Center for local colleges...during the winter in the snow. I have been firing raku ever since, plus stoneware, soda, wood, and alternative types of firing processes. I gained a great education on building kilns while in college. Graduated with a BFA in 1970. I moved to the Mid-west to continue studies in Ceramics at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale with Nick Vergette and Bill Boysen graduating with an MFA in Ceramics in 1974. Worked on the first 1% for Art national commission awarded to Nicholas Vergette for the reflecting pool and fountain at the Federal Building in Memphis.
In 1975, I began teaching at Eastern Montana College, now Montana State University-Billings where I taught for 25 years. I learned to appreciate the grandeur of the mountains, the raw vivaciousness of wild horses, trout fishing, good friends, Yellowstone Park, self-reliance, hot potting in sub-zero weather, and all the rigors of living in the Last Best Place. One day driving home from Billings to Huntley, I passed a field of Black Angus in fresh Spring grass and immediately thought RAKU!Once when I had a group of students up in the Pryor Mountains to look for clay, we went to the top of Dryhead Overlook a herd of running wild horses with their Spring foals emerged for the mist and surrounded us before disappearing down a coulee. Another magical Montana moment inspired me to draw running horses on Raku. I was awarded 2 Senior Fulbright Scholars' Awards; the first was in 1985-86 where I traveled to 48 pottery centers and documented the ethnographic traditions from several origins: Celtic, Iberian, Roman, and Islamic found across Spain. I also published a book of drawings on the pottery of Agost using the Centro Agost my home base with many thanks to Ilse Schutz, the Director. In 1994, I taught at the Tashkent Institute of the Arts and study historical ceramics in Uzbekistan. Colleagues took me to ancient cities along the Silk Road including Khiva, Samarkund, and Bukhara and a remote town near the Kazak border where I gave a talk in a high school and was the first American the students had ever seen. I have served on the Technical staff for Ceramics Monthly, President of Potters Council, and as Director-at-Large for the National Council for The Education of Ceramic Art (NCECA).
In 2006, we moved to the South Border of Texas in Brownsville so my husband, Matt, could have his dream job at a Research University at the Center for Gravitational Wave Astronomy. I worked for 8 months as the Interim Executive Director at the Brownsville Art Museum and taught an Academic year at University of Texas at Brownsville as a guest lecturer in Ceramics and Art History. I served on the boards of Leadership Brownsville, UTB Center for Civic Engagement and the Brownsville Museum of Art. While Montana provided much growth for me as an artist, I found the exotic birds of the Gulf Coast, the Coastal Sky, and the Gulf as well as the Border Wall working their way into my art.
We moved back to Montana at the end of 2016. I am so happy to have returned to my muse, Montana, to create in my home studio in Red Lodge. As of my 70th birthday, I am a full-time Ceramic Artist, Writer, Teacher, Alchemist, and Magician! Keep scrolling down to see some of my greatest adventures in clay. I was recently voted into the Northwest Designer Craftsmen Group.
Teaching ceramics at SIU-Carbondale in 1972. In 2016, celebrated 50 years of working in ceramics.
DIAGONAL 11 The Diagonal 11 Group in Barcelona for our Symposium at E Torn where we created a mural for SiO2 Ceramics Co. and our group at a dinner at our apartment.
Our collaborative event as a group (poster) in June 2018 included hanging an installation from the roof of the amphitheater from our Woodfiring at La Meridiana in Tuscany, followed by an exhibition at MiMo Gallery and presentations at the Carlo Zauli Museum in Faenza. We were able to visit the Museum of International Ceramic Art (MICA) with the IAC Ceramics Now Exhibition.