NDSU Alumni Awards

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted on this blog! I apologize… life has been busy 🙂 Here’s a bit about a recent happening:

NDSU’s Alumni Association recently presented five alumni with various achievement awards. I’m honored to have been selected as the recipient of the 2014 Horizon Award, which recognizes a graduate of the past 15 years for early career accomplishments or exceptional service to their community. Garry Higdem, Sandy Fiechtner, Darrell F. Strobel, Ph.D, and Gary W. Boehler, R.Ph were presented with various awards at the ceremony on May 1st as well. They’re an impressive lot and it was a bit intimidating to be on stage with them!

The ceremony was held over lunch. The food was delicious. Here’s a picture of some of the people at my table:


My family! A couple of my aunts and one of my uncles came also. And two of my favorite professors from my time at NDSU were there too, Dave Swenson and Betsy Birmingham. My family was on time, even though they got a late start that morning and told me they’d be late (they had a three hour drive). I think it’s because my sister was driving and she was going well over 80. I’m glad they made it safely, but I’m glad they were on time, too, as tables were assigned and ours was front and center. Ha!

Here’s another picture, of all the awardees:


It was fun to meet everybody. Click here to read about the awards and each person who was recognized. The emcee did a great job introducing us, and the Alumni Center made video introductions of everyone too. Here is a link to the video about me. And, because my grandma has requested it, here is the text of my speech:

“I’m honored to have been selected for the 2014 Horizon Award. I’d like to thank Dr. Elizabeth Birmingham for nominating me. I’d also like to thank David Swenson and Dr. Kris Groberg for their letters of support, and Jakelle and everyone else at the Alumni Center for all of their hard work putting this event together.

Inspiration, commitment to excellence, challenge, risk taking.

When I think about NDSU, these are a few of the words that come to mind. I’d like to take a moment to talk about two people who I feel exemplify these terms.

Betsy Birmingham.

Betsy was one of my favorite professors at NDSU. Her classes were an incredible amount of work. Strangely, though, it wasn’t necessarily that she assigned gobs of work, it was that she inspired us to go… not just the extra mile, but maybe the extra marathon.

Betsy has a unique energy I haven’t seen in any other person, that seems specifically engineered to inspire her students to strive for excellence in all of their work. I’ve decided there’s something about her that’s a little bit magical.

I didn’t see it when I was her student, though I knew I liked her classes quite a bit. But now that I teach, I look back on how she taught us in sheer amazement. How did she get us so involved? So engaged? Her classes were consistently both thought-provoking and fun, a feat I’ve found difficult to replicate in my own classes.

As I teach, I attempt to channel some of Betsy’s magic. She is one of the biggest role models I have in my teaching practice.

Dave Swenson.

Dave ended up being another of my favorite professors at NDSU. I say “ended up” because I was a little scared of him at first! Dave challenged me right from the get-go. I remember telling him I wanted to be an art major, after taking his ceramics class one time. He told me he’d sign off on it if I agreed to take the class every semester, including summers, until I graduated. I think this was a nice way of telling me I needed a lot of practice!

Dave pushed me to figure things out on my own, and I still remember how frightened but proud I felt when he had me learn how to use the kilns and start firing my own work. He challenged me to take risks, learn from my mistakes, troubleshoot, and problem solve.  As a result, he started my studio practice on a foundation of self-sufficiency, a skill vital to any artist.

As the years have passed and I’ve spent time in other studios and watched other artists work, I’ve become more and more grateful to Dave for teaching me this skill. Feeling confident in my abilities to “figure things out” has paved the way for me take uncomfortable risks with my work and career. These risks have paid off in the form of new pieces, residencies, and teaching opportunities, to name a few.

My degree and education from NDSU has been a great launchpad. Betsy and Dave exemplify the generous spirit I’ve found across the board here. I regret that there isn’t time to tell you about Kris Groberg, Bill Cosgrove, Mark Aune, Kent Kapplinger, and several others individually as well. Each of these people was an integral part of my experience at NDSU. I owe much of my success to these people and their commitment to excellence, and willingness to inspire and challenge their students.

I can only hope to be able to pay it forward to another young person someday in the future.

I’d like to conclude by thanking my family for their unending support, especially my parents, Eric and Jackie. I’m blessed to be your daughter.

Thank you.”


One Lovely Blog Award

I’m more than a little behind on my blog, but a few weeks ago art does matter kindly nominated me for the “One Lovely Blog Award.” Thank you, Patricia, and I apologize for taking so long to get back to you on this! Patricia is a metalsmith and jeweler living in Philadelphia. One of her recent posts was about the annual Kalodner Graduate Student Exhibition at the Clay Studio in Philadelphia. It was fun to read the paragraph she wrote on a piece made by my former classmate, Erik Wilhelmsen.

The rules of accepting this award are pretty simple to follow. First, you must thank the person who nominated you; secondly, tell seven random things about yourself; then nominate up to fifteen other bloggers for this award, and let them know you’ve nominated them.

Okay, here are my seven things:

1. When I was 6, my dream was to become Cinderella.

2. My friend Lauren says I eat like a kindergartner. She’s right; I eat a lot of pb & j, mac & cheese, carrot sticks, string cheese, and I drink copious amounts of whole milk.

3. I have also been known to drink glasses of half and half as well as heavy cream.

4. My parents used to give me candy to keep me quiet on long car trips… now, although I still love sugar, I’m in the process of giving it up (any and all refined sugar).

5. The first alcoholic beverage I drank was when I was 23, and it was a blue raspberry martini.

6. I think if my undergraduate program had had a small metals department I would have ended up a jeweler rather than a ceramist.

7. I’m more excited than you can imagine to be living west of the Mississippi River again!

I must be hungry or something – most of those were food-related. 🙂

Here are the blogs I’d like to nominate for this award….

Still Stubborn: http://stillstubborn.wordpress.com/ A blog about two newlyweds who are currently living abroad in Sweden.

The Life and Times of Lauren deSerres-Kelischek http://laurendeserreskelischek.blogspot.com/ Adventures and projects in the life of a North Carolina-based artist.

Found.Text http://foundtext.wordpress.com/ Looking for words in unexpected places.

Camelhairandhoney: http://camelhairandhoney.wordpress.com/ Fiber and food – a tactile exploration of the clothes we wear and the food we eat.

As EYE See: http://ezmiralda.wordpress.com/ Beautiful photography, musings on life.

Bolt Ceramics: http://boltceramics.wordpress.com/ Elegant, narrative ceramic vessels.

The Liebster Blog Award

Hello there people!  Where are you and what are you doing today?

The highlight of my day just came a few minutes ago, when I checked my blog and found out I’ve been chosen for a Liebster Blog Award by Camelhairandhoney, a funny and insightful blog about fiber, food, and art, written by artist, foodie, and farm girl, Abbie R. Powers.

Thank you, Abbie!  Read Abbie’s blog to get to know her lovely and talented artist self (including seeing what she makes and when you can take classes from her).  You’ll also learn about alpacas, find out how to make beer and grow radishes and celery, see beautiful photos, and more!

What is a Liesbster, anyway?  Here’s a little info about the Liebster Blog Award and what that means for me:

Liebster is a German word, meaning dearest or beloved, but it can also mean favourite. The idea behind the Liebster Blog Award is that it is given to talented and/or loved bloggers who have less than 200 followers in order to create new connections and to bring attention to these wonderful blogs!

There are a few rules that go along with accepting the award:

– Thank your Liebster Blog Award presenter on your blog.
– Link back to the presenter who presented the award to you.
– Copy and paste the award on to your blog.
– Present the Liebster Blog Award to 5 blogs with 200 followers or less who you feel deserve to be noticed.
– Let them know they have been chosen by leaving a comment on their blog.

Alrighty then, here are my selectees:

http://foundtext.wordpress.com/about/ A photographic collection of found text.

http://cityofwater.wordpress.com/ Architecture, infrastructure and the floods of Phnom Penh.

http://suninspired.org/ Six-month beach tour -or- ‘The Trip.’

http://ceridwensoup.wordpress.com/ Art, design, photography.

http://sixglassesofwater.wordpress.com/ Drawings, paintings, paintings, poetry, and short stories.

This award has made me feel like I should get my butt in gear and write and post pictures about the MFA Show reception.  I’ll put it on my list for tomorrow!  Tonight I’m having supper with two very good friends.  TTFN!