I began exploring clay and its magical properties of malleable material in high school, creating small sculptures and tiles. I never saw a pottery wheel until I attended Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 2000 and began taking my first pottery course. It was there I began learning the arduous and exciting process of making pottery. I earned a BFA in 2003 and, upon graduation, decided to move to Pittsburgh to learn about the arts community and to continue making pots. In 2005, I began teaching at the Manchester Craftsman’s Guild where I taught for eight years, this is where I learned the real power of clay and how it can transform people, including myself. In 2010, I created my own home studio and Wolf’s Den Pottery was born.Around this same time I switched from cone 10 gas firing and atmospheric firings to cone 6 electric firing. Our son was born in 2013 and I began a full time studio practice, creating pottery for Wolf’s Den Pottery.
Inspired by a wheel thrown demonstration by Shoji Hamada, a Japanese living treasure, I began working in porcelain and stoneware clay over 48 years ago. I design and handcraft functional pieces and jewelry, using sgraffito, imprints, colored inlaid porcelains and silver, and ash glazes as decoration. I have exhibited in national juried shows, art fairs, galleries, and the Museum of Composition and Design in NYC. I had a one woman show, taught at a college level, juried for art leagues. I have been on the standards committee, was a longtime member of the artists advisory board, and a juror for the Three Rivers Art Festival. I am a member of the Craftsmen Guild of Pittsburgh.
Christy Culp is a Pennsylvania artist and educator who evokes memory through imagery reminiscent of summer kitchens, women and the farm life in which she was raised. She received her BS in Art Education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 1991, where she first experienced working with clay. She has been teaching art at Deer Lakes High School since 1997 where she developed the pottery program in 2008. Christy has been an arts advocate designing exhibition opportunities for her students and national ceramic artists through her work as a board member for the Alle-Kiski Arts Consortium and Associated Artists of Butler County. Her work can be found in local and national galleries and is part of several private collections. Currently, Christy is building a new barn studio on the small berry farm she and her husband share in Butler, PA.
Dan Vito has been working with clay for over 40 years. As the owner and co-founder (with his wife Donna) of Fireborn Studios in Pittsburgh’s Southside, Dan has had a long, successful career as a production potter and ceramic artist. Inspired by the forms and glazes of classical antiquity, Dan’s porcelain work embodies the beauty of museum-quality craftsmanship with a focus on every-day use and utility. His pieces span a range of form and function, including production-level dinner and kitchen ware; one-of-a-kind vases, jars, and ceremonial vessels; abstract wall-hanging tiles and chargers; and many other unique pieces, both practical and purely aesthetic. Dan works primarily on the potters’ wheel, throwing carefully proportioned pieces and frequently altering them with an array of tools and techniques. His forms are characterized by a sense of elegance and fluidity, often accentuated by free-form surface decorations and finished in a wide variety of high-fire glazes, which he formulates and mixes himself. http://Fireborn.com
I am a potter living and working in Pittsburgh, PA, but I recently discovered the joys of wintering in Florida! I fell in love with clay in high school (and that was a very long time ago). Since that time I have continued to improve my skills at Penn State University, The Carnegie, Nancy Smith’s studio, Fireborn Studios, and Touchstone Center for Crafts.
In my studio I create functional artwork intended for daily use in the kitchen and home.My work is primarily wheel thrown Porcelain. I love making pottery, and and am grateful for the people who have inspired and encouraged me to continue this work that is my passion.www.jollypottery.wixsite.com/gallery
I am a self taught artist whose career began a few years ago after retiring from a 30 year career in banking. I am a current member of the Women of Visions, a collective of Pittsburgh women artist. Many of my large sculptural pieces have been exhibited in Pittsburgh Galleries including the Univ of Pgh Fine Art Gallery, Society of Contemporary Craft, Concept Art Gallery, August Wilson Center Gallery, Pittsburgh Center for the Arts and this April I will have an exhibit at the Carnegie Museum of Pittsburgh Gallery.
Jim & Linda Winegar
Linda & Jim Winegar have been creating with clay for 50 years. Their home and studio is located on 60 rural acres in southwestern Pennsylvania. Their functional and decorative stoneware pottery is created mostly on the potter’s wheel. Many pieces are enhanced with hand-embossed or carved patterns, hand-formed leaves & acorns and sometimes with the addition of semi-precious gemstones. They carefully formulate their glazes to enhance their forms with a unique and distinctive color palette, including a copper red glaze. All pieces are fired in a gas kiln to 2300 degrees, providing for strength and durability. The Winegars studied at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, obtaining degrees in Art Education, concentrating in Ceramics. For more than 20 years they marketed their pottery to shops & galleries throughout the U.S., from Maine to Florida, to California & Alaska. For 5 years, they operated Artbeat , a gallery in Waynesburg, PA, with works by more than 80 additional artists. Artbeat closed its doors in January 2018, providing the Winegars with more time to travel, explore new work, teach classes and participate in additional art festivals. The Winegars are members of the Craftsmen’s Guild of Pittsburgh and the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen.http://winegarpottery.com
Art is where your heart meets your mind. My work begins in thought and is then expressed through my passion for this medium. It is a place where only my thoughts and actions take place to form clay into a vessel that can be used everyday. It is my goal to create pieces that not only make me proud but also can add joy to another person’s life just in using something as simple as a cup or bowl… from my hand to yours.
Lana Heckendorn received a BFA in Printmaking from Moore College of Art in Philadelphia. She later developed her functional porcelain work at The Clay Studio. After spending 29 years in Philadelphia, she moved back to Central Pennsylvania, and now makes pots in her studio in Carlisle, PA.In addition to invitational gallery shows, she frequently shows her work in craft shows, both indoor and out, where she enjoys meeting the people who will ultimately use her porcelain pots.
Leslie Green Guilbault left a career in academia and pharmaceuticals in 2013 to become a self-taught ceramic artist and bone carver. She’s created 15 distinct collections of pottery, sculptural bone carvings, custom wall tiles, percussion instruments, and unique jewelry—examples of which can be seen on her website: www.LGGCreativeArt.com.She works primarily in wheelthrown porcelain which she meticulously carves by hand–one line, notch, and divot at a time–and finishes in a variety of metallic glazes that mimic pewter, hematite, copper, and gunmetal. Her pieces are all one-of-a-kind and are as unique as they are beautiful and functional. Leslie has the distinction of being a Roycroft Artisan in Ceramic Art for the past 5 years, which allows her to sign her pieces with the Roycroft logo–a respected mark in the Arts & Crafts community that may only be used by artists who work exemplifies high quality hand-craftsmanship, excellence in design, continued artistic growth, originality of expression, and professional recognition. Her work is featured in private collections world-wide and in numerous galleries across the United States. Custom work is her specialty, and she encourages collectors to view her collectionsdesigns at www.LGGCreativeArt.com. Leslie returned to her hometown of Pittsburgh in 2020, built a small pottery studio in her Spring Hill home, and plans to teach private lessons and rejoin the fine art/craft circuit once the pandemic ends. When she’s not making art, she very much enjoys salsa dancing, writing, and playing musical instruments with her family.
Linda Dujmic is a Pittsburgh potter and fiber artist.Her work reflects her love of nature and she uses her garden plants as inspiration for the designs and colors of her pottery and wall hangings.Her pottery consists of wheel thrown as well as hand built pieces.Linda’s fiber work includes art quilts, wall hangings and eco-printed silk scarves.
Melissa Sullivan was born and raised on Long Island, New York. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a BFA in Ceramics. Melissa later received Master’s degree in Art Therapy from the University of Iowa as well as a Master’s in Counseling from Duquesne University. She is recently retired from her position as an elementary school counselor which she held for 25 years.Melissa derives great joy from her 4 children, 4 grandchildren, 2 dogs and 2 cats. Being in nature, reading and creating art are her staples Melissa’s primary focus, artistically is in making decorative, hand-built pieces, Non-functional vessels as well as objects which engender political reflection Her response to the natural world, especially to the ocean inform her work. The artist works intuitively, allowing the medium, clay, to guide her creation.Ms. Sullivan enjoys working with a wide variety of firing methods, from low-fire raku to high range atmospheric wood and soda firing. Melissa’s ceramic art has been featured in both local and regional Art Shows, most recently in exhibits sponsored by Sweetwater Center for the Arts “Seeing Red”), Butler Art Center ( The Art of the Drink) and the Pittsburgh Society of Artists (Small Works).
Nancy Smeltzer has been developing her ceramic art over the last 25 years. She was introduced to wood firing and vapor glazing during her ceramic studies at Indiana University of PA. Workshops with Kevin Crowe, Jack Troy, Suze Lindsey, Kirk Magnus and Ron Meyers also influenced her.In 2000 she established Little Mahoning Creek Pottery in Smicksburg, PA.
Nancy became a bird watcher on her many trips to Chincoteague Island Virginia. Many of her pots are decorated with images of nature and the birding world. She fires her work in a Manibigama wood kiln and a Joe Finch designed downdraft wood kiln with gass assist. In 2011 when her neighbor took down her old barn, she had the wood repurposed for a gallery that sets beside her 1894 house.
Highlight shows are the 2011 “Animal Craft” Fowler /Kellogg Art Center (2nd floor Gallery Chautauqua Institute; 2012 Exploration in Clay, Clay Place Gallery, Carnegie, PA;2013 “Potters of Smicksburg New Work”, The Artist Hand Gallery, Indiana,PA; and 2014 “Illusions PCG”, Pittsburgh Center for the Arts.
Nancy became a juried member of the Pittsburgh Craftsmen’s Guild 2000 and in 2012 Juried into the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen.
1969 Graduated Garfield High School Seattle WA
1969-1972 Ceramics major University of Washington Seattle WA 1972-1975 Seattle Parks Department pottery classesPottery workshops over many years by
Paul Soldner, Frank Boyden, David Shaner, Patti Warashina, Michael Simon, and othersWork
1975-1982 Taught pottery classes and fired kilns for Seattle Parks Department 1972-1976 Raku demonstrations at various festivals in Seattle WA
1992-1996 Taught pottery classes at the Sawtooth Center in Winston Salem NC 1972- present Made and sold pottery at craft shows, first in Seattle area, now on the East Coast.
In the last 15 years I have taught a few workshops at the Sawtooth in Winston SalemGalleries and organizations
Cicada Gallery Seattle WA 1975-1982
Washington Potters Association 1982-1984 Piedmont Craftsmen Board of Directors 1998-2000 Piedmont Craftsmen member 1998- present Piedmont Craftsmen Gallery 1998- present
Thomas Bothe’s story is the classic case of what can happen when you follow your bliss. After being laid off from his job as an engineer in 1993, Thomas took some time to reflect on what he might like to do with his life. He came to Pittsburgh for a few weeks to help in his brother’s Fine Furniture design business and found himself drawn to the creative, hands-on work life his brother enjoyed. That Fall, he took his first pottery class with Stephen Merritt at Rochester Institute of Technology and soon realized he had found his new career. More pottery classes and more time working alongside his brother in the furniture business convinced him that he had to give pottery a try. In the fall of 1994 he stopped looking for engineering jobs and dedicated the next year to developing his skills as a potter. He hasn’t looked back.
Thomas acquired a job in production pottery at Earth Tones Pottery and also became a studio tech at the Manchester Craftsmen Guild in Pittsburgh. He eventually became a resident artist at MCG, where he learned glazes and fired cone 10 reduction kilns and taught pottery and hand building to high school students. He also attended numerous workshops and lectures by ceramic artists such as Ken Ferguson, Karen Karnes, Michael Simon, Richard Aerni, and David McDonald, to name a few.
At night, Thomas began developing his own signature style in the basement of the home he was renting. Four years later, he began to sell raku and functional pottery at shows, which allowed him to give up his “day jobs.” Today, Thomas exhibits his single-fired wood-ash glazed pottery at juried art festivals across the country. In 2010 he began to include his crystalline work at his shows. Thomas is an exhibiting member of the Craftsmen’s Guild of Pittsburgh, Ohio Designer Crafts, and the Michigan Guild.
Thomas’s work has received several awards for his work, including:
2017 Best in Category, Bethesda Row Arts Festival, Bethesda, MD
2017 Best of Show, Upper Arlington Labor Day Arts Festival, Upper Arlington, OH
2015 1st in Ceramics, Letchworth Arts and Crafts Show, Castile, NY
2015 Outstanding Craftsmanship, A Fair in the Park, Pittsburgh PA
2015 Honors, Three Rivers Arts Festival, Pittsburgh, PA
2015 Award of Merit, Boardwalk Art Show and Festival, Virginia Beach, VA
2014 1st in Ceramics, Letchworth Arts and Crafts Show, Castile, NY
2014 Best in Show, Three Rivers Arts Festival, Pittsburgh, PA
2013 Sand Dollar Award, Boardwalk Art Show and Festival, Virginia Beach, VA
2013 Third in Ceramics, Summerfair, Cincinnati, OH
2010 Third in Ceramics, Boardwalk Art Show and Festival, Virginia Beach, VA
2005 Functional Ceramics Exhibition, The Wayne Center for the Arts, Wooster, Ohio
2005 Best in Ceramics, Artigras Fine Arts Festival, Jupiter, FL
2004 Honorable Mention Ceramics, Lewiston Art Festival, NY
2004 Best Booth Design , Berea Arts Festival, Berea Ohio
Thomas was also published in Pottery Making Illustratted Article, “Making of the Elephant Teapot” Mar2005, Vol.8 Issue 2.
When he’s not in the studio Thomas can be found playing Irish button box, jazz piano, chess, golf, or bicycling. He lives in scenic Washington, Pennsylvania, about 25 miles south of Pittsburgh, with his wife, Francine, and their seven cats.