Late Autumn Featured Artists

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Linda Christianson, Leila Denecke, Jan McKeachie Johnston, Jewelry: Kristen Cliffel

Linda Christianson, Leila Denecke, Jan McKeachie Johnston, Jewelry: Kristen Cliffel

Linda Christianson
Lindstrom, MN
Linda Christianson received her BA from Hamline University in St. Paul and attended the two-year Ceramic Studio Workshop at the Banff Centre School of Fine Arts in Alberta, Canada. She participates annually in the St. Croix Valley Pottery Tour in Minnesota, where her studio is located. She has received awards from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Minnesota State Arts Board, as well as two McKnight Foundation fellowships from Northern Clay Center. Christianson’s subtle, spontaneous work is found in collections across North America and is exhibited widely. Her woodfired pieces are not sculpture, but engaging tools. Christianson is interested in a pot that does its duty well, yet can stand on its own as a visual object. She aims to make a better cup each day.

Kristen Cliffel
Cleveland, OH
Kristen Cliffel received her BFA from the Cleveland Institute of Art in Cleveland, Ohio. In 2015, she was awarded the Individual Excellence Award from the Ohio Arts Council. There was no shortage of artistic imprint during Cliffel’s childhood: art lined the walls of the family home and there was a castle in the basement where live mice ran around in tunnels. Now identifying as both a wife and a mother, Cliffel engages themes of domestic mythology through her ceramic practice. Central to her exploration is the unfolding of intimate relationships and the fear, hope, belonging, security, and connection associated with them. Cliffel uses visual metaphors and unexpected combinations of sculpted objects to dissect these domestic fairytales and expose their prescribed notions of happiness, fulfillment, and success. The bird is a form returned to throughout her body of work, both wearable and sculptural.

Leila Denecke
Scandia, MN
Leila Denecke received her MFA degree from Louisiana State University after four years of study in Japan at the Tekisui Museum of Art and the Ceramic Art Research Institute. She is a 2013 recipient of a Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grant. In 2004, and again in 2008, she received the McKnight Artist Fellowship for Ceramic Artists. Denecke’s work ranges from small informal tea bowls to large freestanding sculpture and installations. She works in stoneware and porcelain and uses various atmospheric kilns, such as wood and soda.

Jan McKeachie Johnston
River Falls, WI
Jan McKeachie Johnston studied at the University of Minnesota, Southern Illinois University, and received her BFA from the University of Wisconsin–River Falls. Since 1979 she has been very active in teaching workshops and demonstrations, working in her Wisconsin studio, and has recently served as an adjunct professor of ceramics at UWRF. For the past 25 years, she has participated in significant exhibitions throughout the United States. She is represented in many private and public collections, including the Chrysler Museum in Norfolk, Virginia; the Weisman Art Museum at the University of Minnesota; and the Minneapolis Institute of Art. Additionally, her work has been featured in Clay Times and Ceramics Monthly.