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. https://www.wolfsdenpottery.com
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.
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. In addition to wheel-thrown pieces, he also works with slabs and molds to produce trays, platters, and wall-hanging pieces. In the autumn of 2019, Dan spent six weeks attending the Pottery Workshop in Jingdezhen, China. While there, he studied the arts of mold making, brush making, and traditional Chinese wheel throwing techniques. He brought back with him a set of molds which he now uses to slip-cast various forms, both functional and sculptural. Recently, Dan has been experimenting with low-fire stoneware to create a series of wall-hanging pieces, which explore “pure form” by focusing on the two-dimensional silhouette, accentuated by splashes of colored slips and curvilinear carvings. These pieces are an evolution of Dan’s life-long fascination with classical form, and demonstrate his more theoretical and philosophical approaches to working with clay. By bridging the gap between two and three-dimensionality, these pieces embody the limitless potential of clay to express form, occupy space, and engage the viewer as both aesthetic object and archetype of utility. Dan is the former president of the Craftsmen’s Guild of Pittsburgh, and a member of both the Associated Artists of Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh Society of Artists.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
Wheel thrown stoneware with texturing, carving and skip trailing techniques I use a wood ash glaze on the surfaces of my work.
Jim & Linda Winegar
Jim & Linda Winegar both grew up in southwestern PA and have been creating with clay for over 50 years. They met in the pottery studio at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, where they received their degrees in Art Education. After receiving their degrees they spent 14 years in the Worcester, Massachusetts area, establishing the Prints and the Potter Gallery, with friends, where you can still find their work today. In 1987, they moved back to Southwestern PA and spent the next 35 years creating pottery on their 60 acre rural property, surrounded by nature. For 21 years they marketed their work to shops & galleries across the US. In recent years their activities have included more arts festivals, craft shows and studio open houses. For more than 5 years, they owned and operated a fine art & crafts gallery, Artbeat, representing more than 80 artists and craftsmen. In addition to their claywork, they spent 25 years deeply involved with the Odyssey of the Mind program and 20 years with the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards of Southwestern PA. In early 2023 they moved to LaPorte Indiana to be closer to family in Chicago. Their main interest lies in creating functional pottery, providing useful items for peoples’ everyday lives. The majority of their work is created on the potter’s wheel. Many of their pieces are hand-carved or embossed with patterns, sometimes with the addition of hand-formed leaves and acorns, reflective of the beautiful rural setting of their home and studio. In formulating their own glazes, they enjoy the process and effects of layering one glaze over another. Their forms & colors are reflective of their natural surroundings. Their one of-a-kind pieces include “spirit jars” which are enhanced with semi-precious gemstones. Each piece of Winegar Pottery is created individually, by hand, with much joy and attention to detail. http://winegarpottery.com
Karen McKee, a native of Pittsburgh, is a studio potter who has worked primarily in porcelain for over twenty years. In addition to using the wheel, McKee’s clay working methods include slab construction and the decorative use of sculptural elements. Karen’s lively brushwork and colorful underglaze patterns celebrate her love affair with clay. It is in her nature to continuously explore, and be open to, what the clay is teaching her, and where it may lead her. McKee’s clay works have been included in juried and invitational shows and are held in private collections.
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 is a self-taught ceramic artist and bone carver whose collections include multiple styles of wheelthrown pottery, sculptural bone carvings, exquisite glaze-painted birds and landscape tiles, percussion instruments, and unique jewelry—examples of which can be seen on her website: www.LGGCreativeArt.com. Leslie primarily works in porcelain and enjoys experimenting with many different surface treatments, especially freehand carving, scraffito, and underglaze painting. Leslie has been recognized as a Roycroft Artisan in Ceramics since 2017 and signs select pieces in her Metallic Collection with the Roycroft Logo—a respected mark in the Arts & Crafts community that may only be used by artists whose work exemplifies the following criteria: – High quality hand-craftsmanship – Excellence in design – Continuing artistic growth – Originality of expression – Professional recognition.Leslie makes all of her work in her Spring Hill pottery studio. When she’s not creating with clay, Leslie very much enjoys salsa dancing, traveling, gardening, and teaching private pottery lessons to Pittsburghers young and old.www.LGGCreativeArt.com
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 is a ceramic artist whose work has been displayed in numerous galleries and fairs throughout the Northeast over the course of several decades. While she currently resides in Gibsonia, Melissa is originally from Long Island, New York. She earned her B.F.A. from The University of Wisconsin in Ceramics and enjoys working in clay and teaching ceramics classes. She also enjoys working in a variety of firing methods from low to high fire – her main expressions being nature and whimsy. When not creating new pieces, Melissa enjoys sending time with her grandchildren, her two dogs and two cats. She also enjoys the outdoors and traveling.
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 Pennsylvania Nancy became a juried member of the Pittsburgh Craftsmen’s Guild in 2000 and in 2012 juried into the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen.https://nancyslittlemahoningcreekpottery.com
I came to pottery about the same time I started growing flowers and enjoying cooking. Each day I enter my woodland studio and make pots that speak of my surroundings–quietly elegant, functional pots that hint at the leaves whispering outside, or egrets winging along the nearby Susquehanna. Whether I throw the clay inti vessels or roll it into slabs as canvases, I often finish my pieces with sparse brushwork reminiscent of Japanese sumi-e. These are pots I love to make, over and over again. The clay brings challenges and is always teaching me something new, if not about form or technique, then about patience and acceptance. The way the glaze breaks on a defining edge, the gentle curve of a cup’s lip. the arc of a handle as it reaches above the teapot to meet the user’s hand–these are the touchstones, the pulse, of my daily exploration in clay. www.pamcummings.com
Peggy’s work is primarily wheel thrown, often with hand modeled additions and handles that add an imaginative and very distinctive style. Many of her pieces feature the natural world in the form of hand painted motifs and sculptural additions or carvings. Her pottery is also heavily influenced by simple elegant pottery forms from China. Likewise, the glazes tend to be elegant and subtle. Her glazes are all mixed from the potter’s raw materials offering a quiet elegance that tend to enhance the forms themselves. Peggy’s clay studio is located in East Springfield Pennsylvania in her backyard pole barn. She is the proud recipient of a $2000.00 Creative Entrepreneurial Accelerator Program Grant from Erie Arts and Culture. She is excited to now be a juried member in The Craftsman’s Guild of Pittsburgh. Her work is shown in Erie PA at Kada Gallery and in Pittsburgh at Contemporary Craft.www.peggyquinnclaystudio.com
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.
Vicki & Scott Supraner
Vicki and Scott Supraner have been professional ceramic artists since 1989. After graduating with degrees in Visual Arts from the State University of New York at Purchase, they relocated to the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia. There, they established the Hawksbill Pottery taking the name Hawksbill from the local mountain and creek where their first studio was located. Now living and working in Charlottesville, VA, they continue to make and exhibit their ceramic art at shows and festivals around the country. www.hawksbillpottery.com