Songbird Pottery
Mud to Art: 2000 Degrees of Separation

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Songbird Pottery is a small South Minneapolis, MN based ceramics studio. Their unique, handmade pieces can be viewed at local galleries (see facebook "events" entries) or by scheduling an appointment at the studio.

Nancy Lemke

Nancy has dedicated her life to delivering beauty through her hands first as a professional musician and later dabbling in weaving and woodworking. Pottery presents a very different artistic outlet that allows her to integrate the many skills she's cultivated.

Like many, Nancy began her journey into ceramic art behind a potter’s wheel. After some experimentation she found that hand building offered her the most direct route to realizing her artistic vision.

Nancy is strongly influenced by the shape, curve and flow of the natural world.

Bob Casar

Bob has spent the bulk of his professional career in project management and medical device research & development. Focusing on the technical side of pottery he brings the systematic tools of his professional life to the frequently maddening vagaries of art.

For Bob, clay provides the freedom and immediacy of feedback that is not always possible when designing in a highly regulated industrial environment.

Bob specializes in “practical” pieces and derives great pleasure in the process of building and problem solving.

Artist's Statement

There’s almost nothing better than opening up a new bag of clay; untouched, all new, a blank slate, 25 pounds of malleable potential just waiting to be pushed and prodded into form or shape or object du jour, later to be fired at volcanic temperatures and frozen into its assumed shape (until it gets dropped or thrown or buried then crushed by centuries of earth…).

My official training was in the field of music. As much as music and pottery both provide artistic outlets, pottery is admittedly pretty far away from music. It’s in the things they don’t share, their profound differences, that make them both important parts in my life.

Someone more insightful than me said that “music is how we decorate time,” its charms are ethereal and temporal. After years of this air-born conjuring I found myself in need of an anchor, something to ground me, something to be the planet around which this musical atmosphere circulated.

It turns out that my planet was made of clay. Now, in addition to decorating time, I can decorate the dinner table or end table, the vessel that holds cut flowers, and countless other practical and impractical do-dads of everyday life.

In the beginning I ventured into several classes to get my feet wet and fill in the obvious gaps in my knowledge of pottery. But after suffering an oppressive amount of musical education when I was young (which in part squashed my creativity), I have made a conscious decision not to pursue routine education unless there is a specific, overriding need.

What’s arisen out of this unmapped sojourn is a body of work that is constantly changing and evolving. There is however one component that has remained constant; all of my pieces have an organic flavor. They are either reminiscent of petals, or I’ve pressed leaves into them or they just seem kind of familiar in their reflection of the natural world. Every now and then there’s an outlier, but in general, that’s my M.O.

My goal as a ceramicist is to spontaneously create objects that are fun, or functional, or possibly even both. My hope is that they will be enjoyed by others as much as I enjoyed making them.

~ Nancy Lemke

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