The Clay Studio of Missoula is brimming with ceramic works and holiday cheer, beginning with its First Friday reception, 5:30-9 p.m. Dec. 7, and continuing through Dec. 22.
The Holiday Open House, 2-6 p.m. Dec. 15, offers free hands-on pottery lessons, a paint-a-decoration station, live music by Steve Glueckert and friends, and refreshments.
Up to 50 artists – including current and past Clay Studio residents, local and national artists – share mugs, vases, sculptures and other exceptional works of ceramic art.
The sale is open 11 a.m.-5 p.m. daily, Dec. 7- 22, with a reception from 5:30-9 p.m. Dec. 7.
Clay Studio Artists in Residence
“One special thing we do in December is really highlight the work of our long-term artists-in-residence,” says Clay Studio director Shalene Valenzuela. “Out of the five here, two are native Montanans and one other one will be establishing his studio practice on his family’s property in Belgrade when he finishes next summer.”
Christine Gronneberg: After earning a B.F.A. from Montana State University in 2015, Gronneberg moved back to her hometown of Helena to pursue her love of wood firing and worked as a studio assistant for Tara Wilson. From 2017-’18, she was a post baccalaureate student at Utah State University, and recently has delved into the world of functional low-fired ceramics. She began her residency at the Clay Studio of Missoula this fall.
About her work: Gronneberg believes that our precious, most beautiful objects should be everyday objects and is dedicated to making comfortable, well-crafted pots for the home.
Elisha Harteis received a BFA in ceramics from the University of Montana in May 2015, and continued her education with a short-term residency at the Red Lodge Clay Center, a studio assistantship at Arrowmont School of Arts and Craft, and a short-term residency at the Clay Studio of Missoula. She is currently teaching art at her own business, Mud Bunneh Ceramics, and also works with after-school programs for elementary and middle school children. She began her long-term residency at the Clay Studio of Missoula this fall.
About her work: Her sculptural works focus on depictions of children and animals. Upon first glance the works appear playful, however there are deeper and more complex narratives informing these pieces.
Ben Jordan was born and raised in the American Southwest. He earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology at Northern Arizona University followed by a BFA in ceramics before serving as an apprentice in Groningen, in the Netherlands. After finishing a residency at the Red Lodge Clay Center in 2014, he earned his MFA in ceramics from Virginia Commonwealth University and completed a year-long ceramics residency at Pocosin Arts in North Carolina. Jordan plans to establish a studio in Belgrade after he completes his two-year residency at the Clay Studio.
About his work: Through hand-labor, contemplative making and a reverence for tradition, Jordan aims to explore both interrelated and divergent human perceptions using clay as his primary medium in both functional and sculptural works.
Scott McClellan received his BFA in ceramics from Utah State University and worked as a studio technician at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. He then served as a long-term resident artist at Taos Clay in New Mexico. He graduated from the University of Missouri with his MFA in ceramics and a minor in sculpture, and will be the woodfire resident at The Clay Studio of Missoula through summer 2019.
About his work: Weathering, metamorphosis, heat and tectonics are forces that form and transform the earth. McClellan’s functional and sculptural works are influenced by these forces of nature.
Andrew Rivera received his BFA from the University of Minnesota, Duluth. From 2017-18, he participated in the Minnesota New Institute for Ceramic Education (MN NICE) program at Northern Clay Center, where he also was a Sales Gallery, Education, and Exhibition Associate. He began his long-term residency at the Clay Studio of Missoula this fall.
About his work: He aims to capture values from his Mexican heritage in his wares, including everyday rituals, connections and relationships. He sees the interactions between user and vessel as an opportunity to reflect on interpersonal connections.