Amanda Dabel’s BFA Show: Limerence

Here are some glimpses of Amanda Dabel’s BFA show last semester, titled “Limerence.” Limerence is a term from psychology –

the state of being infatuated or obsessed with another person, typically experienced involuntarily and characterized by a strong desire for reciprocation of one’s feelings but not primarily for a sexual relationship.

The video was shot and edited by SNC students (Maggie Newman did the heavy lifting on editing) as part of a media class last semester.

Jessica and the Glow-Cloud

Welcome to NightvaleAlum Jessica Hayworth has created artwork for Welcome to Nightvale, a terrific podcast “in the style of community updates for the small desert town of Night Vale, featuring local weather, news, announcements from the Sheriff’s Secret Police, mysterious lights in the night sky, dark hooded figures with unknowable powers, and cultural events.” Above is her image from a limited-edition postcard series, which can be ordered here. And below is a T-Shirt design, only available through the month of September, available for order here.


“Welcome to Night Vale” was the #1 podcast on iTunes this June – there’s an excellent article on The Awl about Nightvale and its popularity: “America’s Most Popular Podcast: What The Internet Did To “Welcome to Night Vale.” Here’s a teaser quote:

In a pinch, fans tend to describe “Welcome to Night Vale” as a Lovecraftian love-child: “A Prairie Home Companion” as narrated by Rod Serling, and so on—comparisons which Fink has called “reductive” without saying they are wrong. (In the same interview, he said that fans from Texas assume, without much evidence, that the show is set in their state.)

Starting around July 5th, Sebela said they began seeing the fandom “spiral out of control” on Tumblr: During the seven days before we spoke, there were 20,000-plus posts about “Night Vale,” with 183,000-plus individual blogs participating in the conversation, and 680,000-plus notes. A common tag appears in all-caps, like, “15 eps in 2 days WHERE AM I.” Sebela described another common refrain: “I just marathoned. I know I’m going to finish it tomorrow morning on the subway.”

Jessica runs her own, highly entertaining tumblr at

Nick at Alfred & Beijing

Here’s an update/message from SNCFA alum Nick Geankoplis – with some pictures from his MFA show at Alfred University:


Hello SNCFA!

Alumnus Nick Geankoplis here, thought it might be a good time to a send quick note about what has transpired since we said our good byes back in 2011.  My MFA experience was exceptional, of course there were moments of cavernous doubt, but I think that is at the core of anything profound or important.  I was lucky to have a diverse faculty and a great group of peers, both of which challenged and supported me.  I had the first show of the year this past April 13th and because I was the first, I got a solo exhibition.  It was the first solo exhibition to utilize both floors of the gallery; I also installed a 5-story sculpture in the stairwell connected to the gallery. Here is a description from a book I just put together of images from the show and my written thesis:

“The Turner gallery presented an installational challenge as well as an opportunity. It is a multi-story arena with complex architectural elements that contain galleries within galleries, thresholds, vantage points and isolated spaces.  The work grew into and out of the space. The sculpture, ceramic objects and video media worked in unison as an instillation, as components of a whole experience informing and compounding one another, begging for a physical reemergence of the work just seen and out of view.”


I’m working with similar conceptual tissue and strategies as was at SNC but with a deeper understanding that only can come from a multi year acute focus.  I describe them as this in academic vernacular:


“My work leverages the geological, technological and sociological materiality of clay to examine legacy, codification and decay through the plight of the individual and ubiquity of a society. Utilizing an analogue and binary mash-up, I create installations with ceramic sculpture, video media and a conceptualized version of the print process. These installations are steeped in a geological practice akin to the orogenic cycle and its subsequent phases. My work also possesses newness. Vivid color, high definition resolution and process based gestures imply recent or partially completed steps in a given system.  The ingress of the outer/present and inner/past signals, present a temporal duality with in my installations. This paradoxical dichotomy disrupts our relationship with the scope of time distorting/bending acuity within a space or experience.”


I have known for a long time that as well being an artist I wanted to teach and to teach at a university or college level.   In December last year I applied for a number of teaching positions in the United States.  I had a few nibbles and one interview but no offers. I continued to apply for positions during my final semester while working on my thesis.  In the end I was approached and offered a position at a program that Alfred University and the Chinese Central Academy of Fine Arts developed in collaboration eight years ago.  It is a Ceramic Design for Industry program at CAFA (Central Academy of Fine Arts) in their School of City Design. It’s an interesting program where the students, all Chinese, are taught with a hybrid model of eastern and western methodologies. It incorporates material knowledge through typical western collegiate studio instruction (making with their own hands), along with conceptual/sculptural problem solving. In their junior year the students start doing market research for utilitarian or domestic items for Chinese consumption. They begin working with ceramic factories in a typical eastern fashion having their designs made by expert craft/tradesmen, ultimately learning to work with someone else’s hands.  The program culminates in a senior thesis exhibition that often takes place at a gallery in the 798 district, the main art area of Beijing.  I am one of three faculties in the program and the only westerner.


So you are probably asking yourself why the hell did they hire Nick, a ceramic installation artist at a design school?  As I have come to understand, it’s my role to introduce the more obtuse conceptual or sculptural conversations, so that our students can apply this kind of thinking to their making.

Oddly enough there are very few Chinese designers in China designing for Chinese.  The vast majority of the things made in China are designed by foreigners or copied from foreign designs.  These objects in the end have very little cultural significance or value. One of the major goals of our program is to create Chinese ceramic designers and object makers aware of the contemporary art climate but not blind to their rich cultural heritage. That would ultimately create objects that are significance and have a domestic relevance for the immerging modern Chinese Society.


I’m very excited to be here in Beijing but Incline and SNC will always be near and dear. It seems at the same time so long ago, and like it was just yesterday, that I was on the lake, or in the studio, at the Hacienda or hiking Tamarack.   I sort of understood that when I was there but not really… as the Japanese proverb says “it is always darker beneath the light house”.

Here’s a preview and a link to a book Nick put together for his show:


“Points of Flux”

Katie Lewis and Rick Parsons

Exploring ideas around notions of landscape, time, and states of flux artists Rick Parsons and Katie Lewis collaborated to make a two-part installation with Lake Tahoe as the point of origin. Parsons and Lewis visited seven different site around the lake with the criteria that each site must have a creek or tributary that feeds into Lake Tahoe.






A total of ninety-eight jars were collected during the site visits and are marked according to the site number and the order in which they were collected. Referring to the idea of sediment and the passage of time the jars are placed according to the same GPS mapping system used during collection, but all seven sites are combined and layered on top of one another to create one composite view.The element of chance and the unknown played an important role in this project. The parameters and methods of working were established before the site visits occurred, but what happened during the visits such as which pigments were found and where, created a point of flux—in a sense the landscape itself determined the final visual outcome. The project also refers to other artistic methods of either interpreting or documenting the landscape such as painting or photography. For example, in the same way a photographer records the landscape the drawings and jars abstractly document the different points around the lake both through the coloring and placement of the pigment.

For a full project tour click on start Prezi.

“Keep Us Posted” Student Exhibition at The Wedge


Molly Allen and Amanda Dabel were selected by juror Ben Parks for the

“Keep Us Posted” student ceramic exhibition at The Wedge in Reno, NV.

Molly Posted show

Molly won a People’s Choice award!

Posted show Amanda Molly ClaytonHere’s Amanda and Molly with UNR’s professor Clayton Keyes.

He’ll be teaching a summer Visiting Artist workshop at SNC this June.

It was a fun opening reception with students and faculty from SNC, UNR, and TMCC.

It was also great to connect with alumnus Bryan Stieger who teaches and

works in the studio at The Wedge.

JAPR Show: Spring 2013


This semester, seven students participated in the Junior Art Portfolio Review. This midway exhibition is required for all students pursuing a major in art. Students have roughly ten minutes to defend their work, followed by a Q & A from the art faculty and audience. The work is critiqued heavily by the art faculty and each student gets extensive feedback on their exhibition. The JAPR is held once in the fall semester and once in the spring semester. Here are some photos of students who participated this semester:

Tim Sweeney





Carly Petrie








Stephanie CampbellIMG_0046






Holly Marie BethersIMG_0089



IMG_0010Shannon O’LearyIMG_0068



IMG_0003Hailey KreisIMG_0064IMG_9996

IMG_9994IMG_0001Henrik MikkelsgärdIMG_0079


Aaron Moulton and the Ghost of the Spiral Jetty

Aaron Moulton, curator for the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, gave a lecture to students at SNC on February 20th. The event was sponsored by the Capital City Arts Initiative. Moulton moved to Utah in early 2012 to take the position of curator after 10 years in London, describing himself as an “art-world anthropologist” (a full interview from The Salt Lake Tribune is here).


(Pic of Moulton from

Moulton had a three-part lecture that touched on the topics: The Politics of Value,The Politics of Spectatorship, and The Politics of Storytelling.

Moulton shared elements of an exhibit he curated that revolved around language, titled “Cantastoria.” One piece in that show was Archive of Dead and Dying Languages by Mexican artist Pablo Helguera. Helguera referenced Thomas Edison’s wax phonographs, making phonograph recordings of a poem, song, or joke in an endangered language. One particular piece possessed a recording of Mary Smith Jones, the last living speaker of Yaqi, a native Alaskan dialect. Helguera used the phonograph to symbolize the frailty and silence of a dead or dying language.

Screen shot 2013-03-25 at 3.14.06 PM

Another piece in the exhibit was 50,000 lb. wall of books created by Adam Bateman. Considering himself a minimalist, Adam views “art as language,” and the way he speaks is with books. He doesn’t read these books, though – he utilizes them to build a unified structure. In a profile for, he’s quoted as saying: “The primary structure of my sculptures is the text of the books, the secondary structure is the form made of books. In that way, the books actually work as signifiers (like words) and so the structured arrangement I make with them is analogous to writing.”


In a nutshell, Adam stacks these books on one another to create a larger structure. The weight of the books keeps the structure from falling apart. The only type of adhesive he uses are liquid nails, which attach the top to the rest of the piece.

Moulton also spoke of his interest in the iconic piece of “land art,” the Spiral Jetty, near Salt Lake City. He talked about bringing artists to the site to experience its beauty. Many visiting artists see it as a sort of pilgrimage – encountering this famous artwork on its real turf, instead of through Google image searches or art books. Since it only can be seen above the water line for part of the year, most visits happen when it’s submerged. Moulton says of the artists he chaperones to the site: “They have to project their Google image onto the water.” He describes each trip as both exciting and wildly disappointing.

Here’s your own Google image view:


The final exhibit he talked about was staged at an abandoned house in an unknown location. Titled Each Memory Recalled Must Do Some To Its Origins, Aaron Moulton brings the viewer into a haunted and mysterious environment through a video tour. Aaron described his piece as a digital gallery. He dreams of some unsuspecting victim entering the gallery, not knowing the horrors inside. As we watch the video, sounds of babies crying and ominous voices tickle our ears. The audience is forced though an incredibly uncomfortable space – it looks like a building that was once inhabited by some strange cult. After the tour, the natural space outside of the house is like a breath of fresh air, free from the psychosis of society. Video below:

This post was written and edited by the “Fine Art Marketing” class.

Clay Club attends NCECA 2013 – Houston, TX

Here's the "Welcome NCECA" banner.

The “Welcome NCECA” banner at the Houston Airport. Clay Club President, Flor Widmaris excited about the conference!

Yep, we're definitely in Texas! Karl Schwiesow tries it on, while Heath Pierson shops for a little bit of TX.

Yep, we’re definitely in Texas! Karl Schwiesow  found out he was accepted to CCA for grad school while at NCECA! Congrats, Karl! Heath Pierson shops for a little bit of TX.

All the cars looked like this!

All the cars looked like this in Texas!

Molly Allen won the Ceramic Store of Houston  - Purchase Award at the 2013 NCECA Juried Student Exhibition. Way to go, Molly! Congrats!

Molly Allen won the Ceramic Store of Houston – Purchase Award at the 2013 NCECA Juried Student Exhibition.
Way to go, Molly! Congrats!

NCECA's web site. Kristen Kieffer's piece is on the lower right. She was THE demonstrator at the conference. She'll be teaching a workshop this summer at SNC in July.

NCECA’s web site. Kristen Kieffer’s piece is on the lower right. She was THE demonstrator at the conference. She’ll be teaching a workshop this summer at SNC in July.


Tom Coleman, who will teach at SNC, summer 2014, with Polly Beach, Clay Times editor, and others. The Soldner logo lives on!

Tom Coleman, who will teach at SNC, summer 2014, with Polly Beach, Clay Times editor, and others. The Soldner logo lives on!


Another visiting artist, Randy Brodnax did a demo, and it was so packed  they should have put him on a stage! He'll be co-teaching with Don Ellis at SNC in June.

Another visiting artist, Randy Brodnax did a demo, and it was so packed they should have put him on a stage! He’ll be co-teaching with Don Ellis at SNC in June.

Former Workshop Instructor,  Juror of SNC's "New Decade of Clay: 2010" exhibition, Richard Shaw, (right) with Clayton Bailey, who delivered the closing lecture "Whither the Pot?"

SNC Workshop Instructor 2009, and Juror of SNC’s “New Decade of Clay: 2010” exhibition, Richard Shaw, (right) with Clayton Bailey, who delivered NCECA’s closing lecture “Whither the Pot?”.

This was one of my favorites!  It's ceramic!

This was one of my favorites!
It’s ceramic!

It's also huge.  Yes, I enjoy art that references humor.

And it’s huge!
Yes, I enjoy art that references humor.

Nick Geankoplis, BFA from SNC/FA 2011, has now almost completed his MFA at Alfred University. He was also in the NCECA student exhibition, and was in it when he attended SNC.

Nick Geankoplis, BFA from SNC/FA 2011, has now almost completed his MFA at Alfred University. He was also in the NCECA student exhibition, and was in it when he attended SNC. This was in the show with Molly’s piece.

NCECA was amazing this year, as usual. SNC had a table in the non-profit area of the exhibition hall. We received a lot of interest in our program and summer workshops.

7 students attended: Molly Allen, Bianca DelCioppo, Amanda Dabel, Flor Widmar, Austin Ford, Karl Schwiesow, and Heath Pierson.

Our SNC/FA students continue to attend top MFA programs all over the country. It was great to see alumni Nick Geankoplis, who is at Alfred University, Victoria Buck, who is at the University of Tennessee, and Andrew Hoeppner who is at the University of Washington, Seattle. They inspired our current students to follow their educational path to pursue an MFA. The alums offered great advice for our students.

This conference is a great place to “shop” for grad schools, with most of the top ceramic programs having an information distributing table like SNC does. Rick Parsons and I also have many friends that are teaching, and we introduced them to our students. Several of them reported that they had great conversations.

Can’t wait for Milwaukee next year!