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Roberta Polfus Ceramics
Oak Park, IL 60302
(708) 383-3651
IG: robertapolfus
FB: robertapolfusceramics

Most of my carved forms reflect the movement, shapes, patterns and surfaces that I am drawn to in nature—the petals of an apple blossom, the grooves of a spindle shell, the pattern of a hosta leaf or the texture of a weathered rock all inform and inspire my work.


I use a combination of wheel thrown and hand built porcelain forms that are altered, carved and sprigged. Each piece is handled many times. With a variety of airbrushed matte and gloss glazes that enhance the surfaces, the pieces are fired to a high temperature in a gas kiln, cone 10 reduction, around 2340 F or 1282 C.

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Hironobu “Nishi” Nishitateno
Loves Park, IL 61111  
(815) 209-6725

IG: @NantenPottery, #NantenPottery

FB: NantenPottery

Etsy: NantenPottery

My passion for making pottery springs from a desire to bring beauty and nature into daily life. I find inspiration everywhere I go, traveling with notebook in hand, sketching designs and shapes that can be incorporated into new works.


My style is based on the simplicity and functionality of Japanese pottery, using natural materials and colors typical in nature. It is my belief that pottery should not be the center of attention on the dinner table; it should be simple and attractive, while discreetly adding to the delicious appearance of the food. I strive to create pottery that resonates with me and brings out my inner peace. It is my hope that the natural simplicity of my pottery can bring the same peace to others.


The entire process of creating a work of art excites me. My favorite tools are my hands. I love feeling the subtleties of the clay, in which slight changes bring out the wonders and beauty of the material and make a great impact on the final piece. I strive to incorporate the characteristics of the clay, such as flecks of iron, so that they are not hidden but honored. The potter’s wheel inspires me to add textures like spirals where glaze can naturally pool during firing. The kiln brings about a surprise ending, as the fire is variant by nature and can lend unexpected character to the final piece. 


My most exciting challenge in pottery is the precision required at every step to achieve an aura in the finished piece. I feel satisfaction when the character of the clay bursts forth with momentum while expressing my intention for the work, conveying a powerful emotion to onlookers.


Student Guest Artist
University of Wisconsin Platteville
IG: harewood_studios
(312) 882-5338

Will Hare is a student at the University of Wisconsin Platteville, majoring in cross-disciplinary fine arts with and emphasis in ceramics. After graduation he will go back to school and get his MFA to pursue his passion for teaching. Will focuses on creating and experimenting with various clay bodies, glazes, and firing methods, avidly searching for his own voice through constant experimentation. 


konner schroeder
Student Guest Artist
University of Wisconsin Platteville
(563) 451-7509

My work focuses on utilitarian pottery, specifically functional wheel thrown forms. Through this mode of working, I am resting on the development of a firm understanding of the foundational principles of a successful pot. My attention to wall thickness and relationship of the foot, body, and lip to the overall form is my main concern. Some artists that really inspired me to pursue this style are Paula Unger and Kendall Davis. I have also experimented with glaze combinations as well. I am not fully knowledgeable with many glaze combinations, so it has been a lot of fun seeing how glazes interact with each other. Ultimately, my work is a consideration of both function and simplicity.

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John-Thomas Richard

2305 Aspen LN NE

Cedar Rapids, IA 52402

IG: johnthomasrichard


Hello, my name is John-Thomas Richard, I was born and raised in Southwestern Wisconsin. I first developed my interest in clay during sophomore year of college at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. I Graduated in 2006 with a degree in art and American history. I worked for two years developing a portfolio for graduate school. I then spent the following three years at Texas Tech in Lubbock, Texas working towards a master’s degree. I graduated with my MFA in May 2011. In August of 2012, I moved to Cedar Rapids, IA to start a year residency with The Iowa Ceramic Center, at this time I also worked at Kirkwood Community College from 2011-2017. In 2014, I started working at Mount Mercy University, where I currently hold the title of Special Appointment Faculty in Art & Design, teaching Ceramics, Sculpture, Jewelry Metalsmithing, and Intro to Art classes, while also managing the campus art gallery (Janalyn Hanson White Gallery).


Artist Statement

John-Thomas Richard is currently exploring the idea of human flight through the use of ceramic forms, silhouettes and structures. He has grown up loving planes, for both their technical beauty of construction and their seemingly impossible ability to fly. His family has greatly influenced him with what they have done in connection to aviation. His grandfather Stiles flew all around the south pacific during World War II on different planes fixing communication equipment on the islands. His grandmother Richard worked at an airplane Plant in Detroit during the war. She made the cowlings that go around the four massive engines of the B24 Liberator Bomber. His father built a Sail plane in the family barn with a friend and was responsible for introducing him to flight by taking him to Air-Shows since he had been able to stand. No one in his family has ever been a pilot but that has not stopped them from being part of the aviation spirit. Ultimately, Richard is aware that his ceramic planes and parts may never truly fly but he wants to provoke the idea of flight in the minds of the viewer.

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Kelly Koppel
Student Guest Artist

Mount Mercy University, Iowa
IG: thekoppelkiln
FB: thekoppelkiln

Kelly Koppel’s art education began in high school when her artwork was entered into an exhibit, Arts-a-Budding, and won an award at her local college, Valparaiso University in Indiana. While pursuing her associate of science degree in Technical Graphics at Purdue University all her electives were in foundational Art classes. As her career led her to Geographic Information Systems in Oregon, she continued her love for Art by taking sculpture classes at Portland State University. After moving to Iowa, she decided to stay home with her children, follow her true passion and pursue a degree in art. In December of 2020, she obtained her associates of arts from Kirkwood Community College primarily taking Ceramic classes. She graduated in May 2023 from Mount Mercy University with a bachelor’s of art in art and is currently a Resident Artist at the Iowa Ceramic Center and Glass Studio in Cedar Rapids Iowa.

Artist Statement
My work involves creating sculptural utilitarian vessels that most often express my current state of mind. My recent body of work involved slip casting, using a form and manipulating it in diverse ways to create a variety of functionalities. I created varying lamps, lamp shades to vessels that hold water and light from the original form. Each piece expresses my stages of grief and gratefulness to those that helped me find my internal light again after losing a handful of family members the previous two years. Lighting, hands, trees and leaves are reoccurring themes in my work. I have always been drawn to the beauty of trees and how they change through the seasons. As leaves are an extension of the tree so are our hands, yet the human hand can express so much in just the smallest gesture. My favorite way to make a piece functional is with lighting because I feel it adds more character to the piece and can even give the piece a whole new personality even in the shadows.




Rockford, IL

(815) 988-9848

After 25 years I am just beginning to understand who I am as a potter. I concentrate on refined, carefully shaped forms where the feel of the clay, the speed of the wheel, and my thoughts on that day combine to create a bowl, a cup, a teapot. Each creation is as individual and unique as each leaf of a tree.


Then to impart the spontaneity and beauty of nature I fire with wood or soda, a process I find continually fascinating. No two pieces are ever alike. The fire warps, adds colors and drips of glass, and though sometimes frustrating, ultimately I hope it provides a beautiful and functional result.


FB: deloresfortuna
IG: deloresfortuna

2023 Shows and Exhibitions
Short Bio

Forming function, a dance, often a tug of war, between though and object making.  Add to this dialogue the sheer joy of working with clays as materially responsive as porcelain and surfaces only possible through glaze fusion.  A dynamic is created which becomes a life-long fascination.  My work uses basic wheel thrown shapes as starting points, altering and rejoining forms articulated by black slip inlay. The clays and glazes I use are often of my own formulation, fired to stoneware temperatures (2374F) in a gas reduction fiber kiln.  My glazes are food safe, microwaveable and dishwashing stable.

Winter Rye

winter rye
1522 Oak Park Avenue

Oak Park, IL 60402

(708) 484-3902

IG: ryemakers

Patrice Murtha began working in clay 20 years ago. She works with an eye toward simple, refined forms that are, first and foremost, functional. Patrice’s pottery is the foundation of the collaboration known as Winter Rye. Barbara Korbel was introduced to weaving 30 years ago, she designs and weaves cloth, sourcing traditional patterns. Her hand woven table linens complement the colors and forms of Winter Rye pottery. Recently, Barbara began carving spoons to accompany Patrice’s dinnerware.


Patrice and Barbara are the founders of Winter Rye. They are committed to making their goods affordable, while honoring the labor of the individual worker. They are proudly based in Berwyn, Illinois. 

Shumpei Yamaki
173 Cedar Muscatine RD  
West Branch, IA  52358
(347) 633-1533
IG: shumpeiyamaki
FB: shumpeiyamaki


Shumpei Yamaki was born and raised in Kamakura, Japan. He moved to Philadelphia in 1996 to study dance. He went on to pursue a bachelor's degree in archaeology at the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse. In 1999, Shumpei was injured in an automobile accident and enrolled in a ceramics class as physical therapy for his arm. He discovered his passion for ceramics, and in 2001 began an apprenticeship under Richard Bresnahan. He learned traditional Japanese pottery techniques, wood-firing, and ways to rely on local resources and resource conservation.

Shumpei went on to graduate studies at the University of Iowa, in 2002, taking full advantage of their strong wood-fire program. In 2005, Shumpei moved to Brooklyn and participated in wood-firings in upstate New York with Tim Rowan and Roger Baumann. Since he returned to Iowa in 2009, He has built his own designed anagama style wood-fire kiln and been experimenting with local clay in his personal endeavors as a wood-fire potter. 



I feel free to communicate with my own language through art. Direct action in the process of creating art is the key to communicating effectively. Results of my action reflect my inner perception.

Initially I came to the United States to see the origin of street dance. Learning street dance has taught me how to communicate with others visually and emotionally. My former experience in Hip-Hop culture and Capoeira (Afro-Brazilian martial art) still exists in my body and soul, blending with and influencing my wheel throwing techniques. When I dance, I dance with flow and force. I dance to express my primitive spirit, and my intuition is exactly what I feel at that moment, completely removed from myself.

I view clay on the pottery wheel as a sort of stage for myself as a dancer. When water flows on the surface of clay on a pottery wheel, my hands dance to rhythm and my mind stretches into meditation. Imagination and feelings about clay and water take me to a state of mind as "second nature". As street dance and clay combine through me, the true primitive concepts of these two art forms communicate themselves to the audience; one is ephemeral, the other is permanent.


joan gaspAr hart

118 S. Riverview St.

Bellevue, IA 5203

(920) 912-7375

I am a 1980 graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. My areas of concentration were Ceramics and Photography.


After graduation, I put ceramics aside to take a photo related job with the intention of earning money for graduate school but my plans were sidetracked by family and career. I continued to pursue creative expression through my photography, painting and handmade paper.


In January 2015, my husband and I moved to Cedar Falls from Sheboygan, Wisconsin for our jobs. A year later, I discovered the Independent Study program in Ceramics at the Hearst Center for the Arts and rekindled my passion for clay while taking advantage of their facilities. Two years later, I set up my own studio and began marketing my work at art fairs.


In July of 2020, we bought a small commercial building on Riverview St. in beautiful Bellevue Iowa. In September 2021 I retired from my job to pursue ceramics full time.  My studio is operating in the back and I plan to set up a small retail shop for my work in the front after renovations are complete.           


My current ceramic work is influenced by both nature and structure in form and surface. The wheel thrown pieces are altered or assembled, some combining organic shapes with more engineered or patterned  decorative elements.  

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