John Neely

John Neely was born 1953 in Kansas, in the middle of the United States. He is Professor of Ceramics at Utah State University in Logan, Utah, USA, where he has taught since 1984. With a BFA from Alfred University and an MFA from Ohio University, he also worked for many years in Japan, including two years as a Japan Ministry of Culture Post-Graduate Fellow at Kyoto University of the Arts. Since 1975, he has exhibited and lectured in the US, Europe and around the Pacific Rim. Most of his work is intended for the tabletop or kitchen.


KleinReid was founded in Brooklyn in 1993 by James Klein and David Reid. A pioneer in ceramic design and maker movements, the studio is widely credited with bringing design to American studio pottery; marrying timeless art pottery methods and time-honored industrial techniques. The influential workshop is renowned for its elegant shapes, translucent porcelain, artisanal glazes, design integrity and impeccable craftsmanship. As it always has been, all work is made “from scratch” — hand produced and hand glazed in-house.
KleinReid’s refined style has attracted a following and its wares are sought by museums, collectors, celebrities and politicians, including the last two presidents.

Donna Polseno


I strive to make pottery that carries with it a sense of energy and life that can only be enhanced when used for the presentation of food and flowers. Most pieces are slip cast and then often altered, added on to, or reconstructed in some way. I use a mid-range white casting slip.

I have made many different types of pottery over my career, but have always been interested in the way decorative elements can be used to enhance a form, whether one is using an elaborate pattern or the simplest marks. The decorative elements of my work are influenced by the natural world. I was brought up to always notice and take joy in nature.

I have lived my whole life in a rural environment. My images are usually of grasses, leaves, flowers, and nowadays birds. I grew into the bird imagery years after my father, a well known landscape and bird painter passed away.

I have always been attracted to certain qualities of the decorative arts in Asia. I attribute this to living next door to the Nelson Atkins Museum in Kansas City while in Art School there. More recently two long working sojourns in China, which gave me abundant access to seeing Yuan and Han Dynasty ritualistic forms, influenced the sculptural aspects of my pieces. My glazing method is the use of multiple layers of compatible glazes, using wax resist and liquid latex to create a kind of visual depth.


My work has been centered for years around the metaphor of the women as the spiritual container of life and my women are often depicted with a vessel of some kind in order to emphasize that allusion to containment. They are intended to be archetypal rather than portraiture and to emote a sense of the universal. My desire is to fill the pieces with life and energy that connects them to the natural world. I vacillate between portraying a sense of calm and meditative acceptance, with the a sense of precariousness and fragility, both of which are part of the natural order of things. My interest is in portraying the essence of a woman; her capacity symbolically and in the flesh, to give life, to nurture, and exhibit both vulnerability, beauty and strength.


I grew up in Connecticut where my father was a painter and illustrator who supported his family his family of four with his work. My mother was the handiest woman I ever met. I loved watching my father work and art was the only thing I ever got praise for in high school so I ended up at the Kansas City Art Institute where I fell under the spell of ceramics and Ken Ferguson. I went on to study with Wayne Higby and got a graduate degree from RISD.

I then moved, with my husband/potter Richard Hensley, to rural Floyd, VA in the Blue Ridge Mountains to set up our studio, where we have always lived and worked and raised a family. I have always been a studio potter and sculptress with more than the occasional teaching experiences thrown in. I have taught at most of the craft/art schools over the years such as Penland, Anderson Ranch, Banff Center, Arrowmont…

I have taught summer programs at several colleges such as University of Michigan and Alfred University. I have been an artist in residence in Turkey, Jingdezhen, China, and the Archie Bray Foundation. I live every summer now in a remote village in Liguria, Italy and teach in Tuscany at La Meridiana School for Ceramics. I have been honored by the NEA with 2 artists fellowships and received a Virginia Museum artists grant. I am currently the director of “Women Working with Clay”- an annual symposium that takes place at Hollins University where I teach part time, as well as the adjunct curator for ceramics at the Taubman Museum.

Peter Pinnell

My work is intended to be both utilitarian and aesthetic, with both aspects being equally considered. The forms, colors, and textures are derived from and inspired by the history of the vessel and its role in the events and processes of life. It also reflects my interest in various aspects of nature, especially botanical forms, and the winter landscape of the American Midwest.

My careful treatment of the object is intended to convey the sense that this is in some way a special object and with a sense of detail I hope to entice the viewer to give the work closer scrutiny.

I strive to give a sense of precision in my work, but not of a cold, mechanical nature. I prefer a more casual, fluid precision- a sense of care, really- that reminds the viewer that the object was made by hand.

Pete Pinnell

Peter Pinnell made his living as a full-time studio potter for twelve years before joining the University of Nebraska in 1995, where he is a Professor of Art. In addition to his teaching, he exhibits his pottery widely. His work has appeared throughout the US and in a variety of venues overseas.

Pinnell served as chair of the Department of Art & Art History from 2011 to 2016. He has been active in art accreditation, serving as a site visitor for the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).

In addition to his teaching, Pinnell enjoys researching the history and aesthetics of ceramics. He has spoken at a number of major ceramics conferences, including NCECA and Utilitarian Clay. He has written articles for Ceramics Monthly, Studio Potter, and Ceramics Art & Perception, and his column, “As far as I know…” has appeared in Clay Times magazine since 1997. During the course of career, Pinnell has taught professional workshops at Anderson Ranch, Arrowmont, Penland, the Archie Bray Foundation, over 20 colleges and universities, and at numerous community art centers.

Bruce Dehnert

Artist Biography:

Bruce Dehnert received a BA in Creative Writing from the University of Montana and his MFA in Ceramics from Alfred University. He has taught at Hunter College and Parsons School of Art and Design [New York City], The School of Art [New Zealand], the Universiti Malaysia Sarawak [Malaysia], and the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth [New Bedford].

Dehnert is the recipient of a New Jersey Artist Fellowship Award, and other awards including three time Fletcher Challenge International Ceramics Award winner, the Settlor Prize in Sculpture, and a Carnegie Premier Award for Works on Paper. He was also a finalist in the Robert Wood Johnson International Figurative Competition. His work is held in a number of museums and collections including The Crocker Museum [California], the Yixing Museum of Ceramic Art [China], The New Dowse Museum [New Zealand], The Liling Museum of Ceramic Art [China], The New Museum [New York City], and The White House [Washington, DC].

While his work has been featured in many books and magazines, Dehnert remains active as a writer having had articles published in numerous journals including, Studio Potter, Ceramics Monthly, and Ceramics: Art and Perception. He has written a number of forewords for exhibition catalogs and books, including “Woodfired Pottery: Susan Beecher.” His bestselling book, “Simon Leach’s Pottery Handbook,” was recently published by Abrams Publishing of New York City. He is currently writing a biography on noted Japanese artist, Takeshi Yasuda.

In 2016, Bruce was named a Fellow to the International Academy of Ceramics [IAC]. Currently he is Head of Ceramics at Peters Valley School for Crafts in Layton, New Jersey, USA.

Mur Lafferty

About Mur Lafferty
Ditch Diggers: Hugo Finalist for the 2017 Best Fancast Award
Mur Lafferty: Winner of the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer
The Shambling Guides 1 & 2: Winner of the Manly Wade Wellman Award (2014 & 15)“one of the worst-kept secrets in science fiction and fantasy publishing.” – Cory Doctorow via BoingBoing
My books are available in stores, online retailers, and through this site. The two newest, Six Wakes, a clone murder mystery in space, and Bookburners, a collaboration effort about a group of demon hunters for the Vatican, both came out January, 2017.
The Shambling Guide to New York City won the 2014 Manly Wade Wellman Award, and I was lucky enough that its sequel, Ghost Train to New Orleans, won the 2015 Manly Wade Wellman Award! More info about my books here.
I’ve been a podcaster for 11 years, starting in December, 2004, and since then I’ve won the Podcast Peer Award and three Parsec Awards. My show Ditch Diggers is currently nominated for the 2017 Hugo Award for Best Fancast. In 2015 I was inducted into the Podcaster Hall of Fame for my solo work, and the shows I’ve hosted and/or created for, Lulu, and Angry Robot Books. My longest running show is I Should Be Writing (11 years strong as of August 2016!)
I’ve been the editor of Pseudopod, Escape Pod, and am currently the editor of the Escape Artists ezine: Mothership Zeta. My nonfiction essays have appeared in Knights of the Dinner Table, The Escapist, and on the podcast The Dragon Page. I live in Durham, NC, with my husband and teen daughter.
In January, 2014, I graduated from the Stonecoast program at the University of Southern Maine with an MFA in popular fiction.


April Bowles-Olin

April Bowles-Olin


April Bowles-Olin is the creator of Blacksburg Belle. She is a writer, creative business consultant, marketing strategist, and photography dabbler. She wants to live in a world where artists and makers adore marketing, write with confidence and know how to get their unique work in front of people who love it—and scramble for their credit cards because they just ‘have to have it.’ April has taught four CreativeLive courses (including the best-selling course four years in a row, Build a Successful Creative Blog), spoken at the Etsy Success Symposium, and has been featured on U.S. News and World Report, Etsy, Design*Sponge, Where Women Create and The Unmistakable Creative. She has worked with thousands of creatives via one-on-one consulting, group coaching and online courses.

When she’s not helping creative entrepreneurs build successful businesses around the lives they crave, you can find her snapping pictures of her three adopted lab mixes, discovering nifty spy tricks while watching Burn Notice with her husband, and reading every young adult novel she comes across without shame.

You love creating, but you don’t like marketing, right? The dream is you’d like to get lost making pottery for hours every day without having to write blog posts and set up an email list and take product photos and write product descriptions and reach out to stores for wholesale orders. Basically, selling sucks. Hi, I’m April and I’ve got good news and bad news. The bad news is that if you want pottery to be more than a hobby, you have to learn to sell it. The good news is that I can help you make that part easier and fun. And, I’ve got some sprinkles to heap on top of that good news: the opportunities you have now are exponential. So, let’s dig into them. I can’t wait to hang out with you and tell you more at the North Carolina Potters Conference!