I was born in LeMars, Iowa, but have lived much of my life in Omaha, Nebraska. My pottery training began in the College of Art and Technology in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, England. During my stay in England, I entered into a year-long apprenticeship with Didi Chapman in Hexham, Northumberland, England, where I wedged and pugged clay, mixed and sieved glazes, swept and cleaned and carried shelves of ware to the kiln room. In exchange, I was provided instruction into throwing by Didi and Pauline (Paul) Lishman, to whom I am both eternally grateful to think they started me on a path that has lasted 40 years. The Didi Chapman Pottery Studio was a production studio of traditional functional stoneware which was sold throughout Great Britain and located in a former stable for a stagecoach stop between London and Edinburgh, Scotland, above a pub then called the Coach and Horses. The studio is no longer in operation.
Upon my return to the United States, I studied ceramics at Northwest Missouri State University under Russell Schmaljohn, then at the University of Nebraska at Omaha under Henry Serenco, graduating with a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts degree. During my undergraduate studies, I was a producing potter at The Grey Turtle Pottery Shop, in the Dundee neighborhood in Omaha. After my graduation, I was invited to be a visiting artist/lecturer at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. During my time at UNO, I instructed beginning students in handbuilding, an introduction to throwing and glaze chemistry.
I entered a career in public education with the Omaha Public Schools and spent 30 years teaching, and in the administration of the school district. During this time, I continued my love of pottery, working and developing my skills, showing in national and regional shows and selling ware in retail outlets, craft shows and independently. In my transition from public educator to a private entrepreneur potter, I was the adjunct ceramics professor at the University of Nebraska-Omaha, teaching the introduction and advanced classes. These students were introduced to oxidation and reduction firing, Raku, pit firing, glaze chemistry, hand-building, throwing, and lessons on the history of ceramics, aesthetics, craftsmanship and the development of raw materials. As with many universities, the cuts came to the department and ceramics was cut from the curriculum. I concurrently was also adjunct professor at Bellevue University in Ceramics, Sculpture and Art History. This program was an introductory class and served to expose students to art history, making, aesthetics and appreciation. This program too fell to increasing costs and Bellevue University closed their art department in May, 2017.
I currently work from my studio located in Omaha. This has allowed me to take in independent study students and to rent space for others to work in my studio. I have expanded my opportunities by traveling to enter into shows and sell my ware in Colorado, Iowa, and Nebraska. On-Line sales have also bolstered my exposure and I am able to sell both nationally and internationally.