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Meet The Instructors...

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Jo began working with clay in 2012, but it wasn’t until 2019 that she turned her basement into a working ceramics studio and eventually turned a hobby into a full time career. Jo’s ceramic experience is majorly self taught, but she has taken classes at a few ceramic studios in town as well as PCC. Currently, Jo works as an artist assistant and a kiln and studio tech (and now instructor) here at Morning Ceramics. When she’s not covered in clay, Jo loves to get outside and get inspired by the PNW, cook with her partner at home, and give endless snacks to her rabbit Barley.

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Erika Rier is an interdisciplinary artist who has focused mostly on works-on-paper, textiles, and zines until 2019 when she began exploring handbuilt ceramics. Erika's work explores the intersection of politics and history with modern aesthetics and playful design. She has one of each of the following: a husband, a daughter, a fluffy cat, and a black cat.

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Paige Smelley has been a potter for 12 years. She started taking hand building classes in high school, this is where she fell in love with clay. From there she attended Franklin Pierce University in New Hampshire and obtained a minor in Fine Art focus in ceramics, this is where she started throwing on the wheel and fell in love with teaching. After graduation in 2015, she worked for a short time at a ceramics studio in Manchester, New Hampshire. She moved to Portland in 2015 and started working at Morning Ceramics in 2018. In 2020 she started building kilns at Skutt ceramics and is happy to say her professional life is very ceramics centered.

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You'll likely find Sara proselytizing at the banding wheel about the joys of coiling! Sara earned her BFA in ceramics from University of Alaska Fairbanks in 2018, and has a passion for sharing wheel and handbuilding techniques with beginning students. She strives to imbue her work with humor, curiosity, and observation, and hopes to convey the harvest around and within. Sara loves her partner, her poodle (Marko!), veggie gardening, making music, cooking, D&D, and bouldering. She is currently learning to sew. 

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Carla McHattie is a working potter, florist, and food stylist, and is the brains and brawn behind Almond Ave (@_almond_ave_) her ceramics focused business. Carla's hands have been in clay since she was 14 and had a 3 year apprenticeship with Peter Leach, a Master Potter and founder of the Northern Clay Center in Minneapolis, and student of Warren MacKenzie. Carla holds a BA in Fine Art and has 10+ years of teaching and coaching experience. Talk to Carla about gardening, fitness, cooking, vintage treasure hunting or outdoor adventure.

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Michelle received her undergrad degree at PSU with a focus in painting and print making. While obtaining her MFA in Applied Craft & Design at Pacific Northwest College of Art and Oregon College of Art & Craft,  Michelle revisited her passion of sculpture and dove into the world of ceramic arts. It was love at first throw! She combines her love of functionality, pattern and miniature sculpture in her current pieces. If you peep through her studio window you will most likely find her playing with Dennis the studio pug, or painting tiny fireplaces! 

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It was love at first sight when Carina first found clay while struggling through an undergraduate degree in painting. She swapped clay for painting and never looked back! 15 years later, she’s worked as an arts educator and administrator and is finally working full-time as an artist. Carina loves teaching and believes in finding joy in the processes of learning something new. When her hands aren’t in clay, you can find her hiking, teaching herself Spanish, and doting on her houseplants and cat.

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