During the fall of 2023, NCC placed four American Pottery Festival artists at local schools and colleges across the Twin Cities Metro—Chris Alveshere at Central High School (St. Paul), Bekah Bliss at Anoka-Ramsey Community College (Coon Rapids), Didem Mert at Woodbury High School, and Shikha Joshi at South High School (Minneapolis).
Each artist demonstrated a technique they use in their practice and talked through their journey to becoming a successful ceramic artist.
“The workshop was an amazing learning opportunity for all who attended. Bekah shared a wealth of information regarding hand-building, terra sigillata, and the business aspects of being a potter. I was impressed by her method of making a lid that fits. An email I received from a participant said ‘Thanks for bringing Bekah Bliss for the workshop. It was just so very good. I am excited to try some of her techniques.’ Thanks so much for hosting the American Pottery Festival and bringing such outstanding clay artists to our community.”
—Mark Lambert, ceramics instructor, Anoka-Ramsey Community College.
“Amazing opportunity. I continue to be grateful and overwhelmed by the kindness from the clay community. Anoka was so so good.”
—Bekah Bliss, APF artist
“It was awesome having such an accomplished, yet completely approachable, artist like Didem speak to my students about her work. They asked great questions and Didem was willing to talk about all aspects of her practice with them. She showed slides of her work and made her talk relevant and interesting to all the students in the room, even the non-clay kids. It
was a great experience for my students and I, and I think Didem enjoyed herself too.”—Tricia Schmidt, art teacher, Woodbury High School
“We loved having Chris. It was awesome to have someone with an educational background who knew how to speak to our kids and engage them. Chris was relatable with the students and geared his demo towards their interests and passions. We are so thankful to have had this opportunity to learn from a working artist!”
—Anna King, art teacher, Central High School.
Alveshere was even sought out by one of the student’s parents on Instagram to thank him for providing their child with this experience.
NCC has also been developing new mentorship models for early career artists to share their experiences with the next generation of makers—with the aim of decreasing barriers to the ceramic arts for young artists and employing NCC’s many resources on their journey.
If you are interested in learning more about NCC’s school clay programs, email email@example.com.