It’s been a really long time since I’ve written. Sorry! The good news is that I’ve been busy. So, I have a lot of really exciting news to share with you… I’ll share two things today and (maybe) others later in the week!

I’m excited to say I’m profiled in the latest issue of DSM Magazine. It’s an extremely high quality publication, and I’m really excited to have been asked for an interview. If you want to check it out, you can read it online here.


The other big piece of news is personal – I recently got engaged! My fiance’s name is Kyle, and I think he’s pretty great. We are going to get married at the end of May. I can’t wait!

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Sentinels Portfolio

Hello everyone! A quick update – I’m in the middle of my first big public art project, a suite of pieces for the Williston, ND, community library. The project is called the Sentinels Portfolio and it is comprised of 3 large ceramic vessels (each 40″ high and 26″ wide), two 24″ x 36″ color prairie and sentinel photographs, one 3′ x 6′ panoramic sky photograph, and the only weaving I’ve ever made – an 8′ high x 12′ long nature tapestry. Here are some photographs!

To watch a video on how the Sentinels (the clay vessels), please visit:

Untitled-4  Untitled-7Untitled-9Untitled-3  Untitled-5Untitled-1  Untitled-2

You’re Invited!



Large-scale ceramics and photography by Amy Uthus

Opening Reception: Friday, July 18, 2014: 7-10pm*
Gallery Talk: Monday, July 21, 2014: 6pm*

July 18-August 10 @ Viaduct Gallery
Des Moines Social Club
900 Mulberry Street
Des Moines, IA 50309

Gallery Hours*
Monday – Friday: 10am – 6pm
Saturday: 10am – 5pm
Sunday: 12pm – 6pm

*All events are free!

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.”


Recipes for Porcelain Clay Bodies

Here are a few recipes for porcelain clay bodies (casting, throwing, and sculpture).  Test them before you use them!


Cone 10
NDSU’s porcelain casting slip:
EPK 46
Silica 34.2
Custer 19.8
*deflocculate with a combination of sodium silicate, Darvan #7, and soda ashCone 6-10
Kitty’s porcelain casting slip:
Kaolin 42
Custer 36
Silica 22
Water 34
*Darvan #7 to deflocculateCone 8-9
Porcelain casting body
Flint 20
Feldspar 36
Kaolin 30
Ball clay 14Cone 6-8
White/Off White Porcelain casting body
Bone ash 35.7
Kaolin 29.3
Silica 21
Potash 14
Sodium carbonate 0.3%
Notes: shrinkage 12.5%Cone 6-9
Porcelain casting body
Soda feldspar 44
Georgia kaolin 33
Silica 18
Whiting 5
Sodium carbonate 0.4%
Notes: shrinkage 10%
Porcelain (throwing, handbuilding, non-translucent, plastic)
Grolleg 55
Custer 18
Flint 16
Pyrax 2
Bentonite 2
Molochite, 200 mesh or finer, 3 

Reeve’s Porcelain (throwing, translucent)
Grolleg 40
Custer 34
Flint 26
Macaloid 4
*I haven’t used this in a while, but I seem to remember its being very short.


Alfred’s Porcelain (throwing, translucent)
Grolleg 50
Kona F-4 30
Flint 20


Cone 9
Porcelain body
Grolleg 50
Potash feldspar 25
Flint 25


Cone 9-10
Porcelain body
Potash 27
Grolleg 45
Bentonite 6
Flint 26


Cone 9 (Tom Turner)
6 Tile 75
Kaopaque-20 38
Kona F-4 60
Silica (200 mesh) 60
OM4 12
V gum T 4
Ceramictalc 10AC 4


Cone 8-12
Porcelain body
Ball clay 27
Kaolin 27
Potash 27
Flint 19


Cone 10-15
Porcelain body
Ball clay 25
Kaolin 25
Potash 25
Flint 25


Cone 6
White-gray porcelain throwing body
Georgia kaolin 40
Potash 25
OM4 10
Tenn #1 6.5
Silica 13.5
Bentonite 2
Notes: shrinkage 14%


Cone 8-11
White-gray porcelain throwing body
EPK 40
Potash 25
Silica 25
OM4 7
Bentonite 3
Notes: shrinkage 15%

Cone 10
White/Off-white porcelain throwing body
Kaolin 30
OM4 14.5
Tenn #1 12.5
Potash 20.5
Silica 20
Bentonite 2.5


Bone China (unknown firing temperature)
Grolleg 30
Cornwall Stone 20
Bone Ash 40
Flint 10
Macaloid 2
*This is extremely short.


Cone 6-8
White/Off white porcelain sculpture body
OM4 32
Tenn #5 32
Fine white grog 12
EPK 11
Fine white sand 8.2
Potash feldspar 2.4
Silica 2.4
Notes: shrinkage 13.5%

Cone 9-10
White/gray porcelain sculpture body
Kaolin 21
Silica 23
Tenn #5 18
Potash feldspar 18
White grog (60-80 mesh) 10
Fine silica sand 10
Notes: shrinkage 11.5%


These recipes are provided in faith that those who try them will perform proper tests before usage. The author of this blog is not responsible in any way for failed clay bodies, glazes, slips, or anything else, regardless of where fault may lie. Sources for recipes include Glenn C. Nelson and James Chappell.