Cone Pack Invitational: A Place at the Table

September 6, 2018 - January 12, 2019 Starion Gallery, Plains Art Museum

A Place at the Table represents a seat for artists to exercise power and influence and initiate change in our conversations, our choices, our community, and our world. More than just having a seat, we want to encourage individual voice and dialog about community and national issues that begin in our domestic settings and permeate outward.   33 ceramic artists have accepted the invitation to participate in the exhibition.


Generously sponsored by the McKnight Foundation.

Participating Artists:

Chris Alveshere, Katie Aslesen, Andy Bissonnette, Chris Boedigheimer, Al Bouche, Nick Devries, Dar Eckert, Tara Fermoyle, Adam Helenske, Ross Hilgers, Jescia Hoffman Hopper, Spencer Johannes, Jill Johnston, Nancy Leier, Keather Lindman, Annette Marchand, Alatera McCann, Catie Miller, Jennifer Sue Nelson, Ken Omundson, Helen Otterson, Amber Parsons Myszka, Ashley Polkinghorn, Adam Priebnow, Brittany Ryba, Kathryn Scherfenberg, Sean Scott, Kelli Sinner, Dave Swenson, Chance Taylor, Holly Van Santen Knipe, Emily Williams Wheeler, James Wolberg

Related Programming:

Friday Art Break Friday, September 21, 2018 | Noon – 1 pm


Hear artists featured in A Place at the Table discuss their work in this group exhibition.

Exhibition Reception Thursday, November 8, 2018 | 7-9 pm


Kid Quest Saturday, November 3, 2018 | 1-4 pm Free Family/Kid Quest program click here


Place Setting Workshop with Kelli Sinner

Wednesday, Nov. 14 & Friday, Nov. 16, 2018 | 6-9 pm  click here


International Potluck

Thursday, January 10, 2019 | 6-8 pm click here

Plains Art Museum café

Everyone is welcome at the International Potluck. Please bring a dish (in a handmade dish if possible) to share. It does not need to be fancy, something that you or your family eats and likes. We look forward to meeting new friends and trying new dishes!

Artist Biographies

Chris Alveshere is earning a Master of Fine Arts in Ceramic Art from Alfred University in Alfred, NY. He received his BFA in Art Education and a BA with an emphasis in Ceramics from Minnesota State University Moorhead in 2015. Alveshere has recently taught general art, pottery, and independent study classes at Shanley High School in Fargo. His ceramic works are made with a variety of high fire porcelain and stoneware clays and fired in wood, salt, and soda kilns.


Katie Aslesen is currently a student at MSUM majoring in art education and ceramics. She was born and raised in the Fargo-Moorhead area and began taking art classes at the Center for Creativity when she was ten years old. Aslesen’s work is primarily wheel thrown porcelain with narrative surface designs.


Andy Bissonnette holds a BFA in graphic design from Minnesota State University Moorhead. He began making pottery at the age of 17 and has melded his two passions into a style that emphasizes form, texture and pattern. Primarily known for his non-functional Raku pottery, Bissonnette also enjoys creating contemporary tableware. Although simple in shape, his forms are adorned with detailed carvings and runny transparent glazes. The end result is a juxtaposition of the sometimes unpredictable firing process and his very deliberate manipulation of clay.


Christopher Boedigheimer is currently teaching 5th - 8th grade Visual Art at Century Middle School in Park Rapids, Minnesota. Boedigheimer earned his BFA in Art Education from Minnesota State University Moorhead. He also has a BFA degree with an emphasis in Ceramics from MSUM and has completed a Studio Apprenticeship under Craig Edwards, a potter in New London, Minnesota. 


Alvin O. Boucher is an attorney and municipal judge in Grand Forks. Boucher has been actively involved with ceramics as an art medium since 1972 when he enrolled in his first ceramic class at Grambling State University. Between 1972 and 1975, he nearly earned a minor in ceramics at the University of North Dakota Ceramics Department in the basement of Babcock Hall. In 1975 he attended both the prestigious Archie Bray Foundation and the Haystack School of Arts and Crafts. He went on to earn a Master of Arts degree in Ceramics at Mankato State University in 1977.  Prior to attending law school from 1981-1984, he lived in Fargo where he worked in clay at the Creative Arts Studio. He continues to teach ceramics at both university and community education levels. He is a founding member of the non-profit clay center Muddy Waters Clay Center in Grand Forks. In 2010 the North Valley Arts Council in Grand Forks chose Boucher as the Artist of the Year. He creates both functional and non-functional ceramic forms on the potter’s wheel and by hand building methods.  His ceramic sculptural work generally addresses the effects of human habitation on the North Dakota landscape.  His ceramic work has been shown in numerous exhibitions and can be found in both public and private collections, including the Plains Art Museum.


Nick DeVries has been working in ceramics for the past 14 years. He studied at St. Johns University where, in 2001, he finished a Bachelor Degree in Art, with a concentration in painting and ceramics. Since his college years DeVries has worked as a production potter for a pottery in Minneapolis, taught courses at the Edina Art Center and Northern Clay Center, and has pursued his own studio ceramic work. In 2016 he moved his home and studio from Minneapolis to Brainerd. DeVries shows his ceramic work regionally and nationally.

Dar Eckert is a graduate of Minnesota State University Moorhead, receiving a BFA in 2013 for sculpture. A lifelong interest in ceramics is evident in her current body of work that also reflects her love of nature with a political influence. With her raku fired installations and sculpture, she hand builds and uses root-like pieces of clay woven together to make her forms. Some of Eckert's sculptures utilize hundreds of joined pieces assembled into earthy and politically charged work. Eckert has received awards from The Minnesota State Fair Fine Arts Exhibition, American Swedish Institute, and Savage Arts Council.


Tara Fermoyle grew up in North Dakota, Minnesota, and South Dakota. She currently resides in Fargo, ND. Fermoyle, a North Dakota State University Alumni, has an extensive background in interior design and has worked in the industry in different capacities for more than ten years, specializing in textiles and furnishings. Her experience in the design field has influenced her ceramic work in many ways. Currently, Fermoyle works as a full time ceramic artist and interior designer in her newly opened design business, Fermie Studios. Ceramics is her emphasis and passion; she enjoys creating both functional and sculptural work out of the medium and manipulates the clay in unique ways to create both interesting forms and unique surface designs. She creates ceramic work that is contemplative as well as functional. Curiosity and imperfection come with being human; it is with these ideas that she creates forms and surfaces that are beautifully irregular yet harmonious. She explains, “With a background in textile design, I have developed an appreciation for tactile surfaces, and through this I am acutely aware of different patterns and textures. When encountering these surfaces and I question how they were created, while at the same time my hand reaches out to explore. I strive to create objects that will evoke the same urge in the viewer to touch that I encounter on so many occasions.” Fermoyle shows her work regionally. She is involved with many local art organizations and is interested in community involvement centered on art and design.


Adam Helenske was born and raised in Fargo, ND. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Ceramics in 2009 from MSUM. Soon after, he moved to Seattle, WA with his wife Kayla Helenske while she earned her master's degree in Mental Health Counseling and Art Therapy. In Seattle, Helenske had the opportunity to work as an Artist in Residence at Pottery Northwest where he continued his pursuit of studio pottery and immersed himself in the community of artists and patrons. In 2012, the Helenskes opened Circle of Art Studios in Seattle where they taught community classes while pushing their arts careers forward, growing their family, and advocating for the arts within their neighborhood. Helenske moved back to Fargo in 2017 in order to raise their children closer to family and establish their art careers in the Midwest.

Ross Hilgers is an artist from Moorhead, Minnesota. He works primarily with clay and his subject matter is usually abstract. Using clay as a sculptural material is his focus for construction. His artwork can range in size from a few inches to three feet in size depending on content and stylistic approaches.


Jescia Hoffman Hopper is the Visual Arts Educator at Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton Middle School and Adjunct Instructor at the School of Art at Minnesota State University Moorhead. Hopper has a Master of Arts in Art Education from the Maryland Institute College of Art, as well as a BFA in Drawing and BS in Art Education from MSUM. Although she was trained as a painter, Hopper considers it vital to experiment with a wide range of media in order to share that knowledge with her students. Her recent work explores her childhood experiences creating immersive worlds from cardboard and other simple materials. She lives in Fargo with her husband, Matt, and two cats, Lapis and Doodle.

Spencer Johannes is a studio potter from Sartell, Minnesota. He graduated from Moorhead State University Minnesota (MSUM) in spring of 2017 where he received a Bachelor of Fine Arts with emphasis in Illustration, Bachelor of Fine Arts with emphasis in Ceramics, and Certificate in Professional Portfolio Development. He received the Maxine & Gary Fasen Memorial Art Scholarship from Sartell High School in 2011, the David A. Wallace Memorial Art Scholarship from MSUM in 2015, and Mary Alexander Brumby from MSUM in 2016. He currently works from his studio located in downtown Fargo, North Dakota.  

Jill Johnston is from Cando, ND, and is a junior at MSUM. She is has been featured in MSUM’s 2018 Student Juried Exhibition, and was selected for the 2017 Student Juried Exhibition as well. This is her third year taking art classes, and second year working with ceramics.


Nancy J. Leier is a former art educator. From her north Fargo home-studio, Leier creates art in ceramics, printmaking, painting and mixed media. Her subject matter ranges from narrative to metaphorical and decorative utilizing her two and three-dimensional skills. Leier earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting and a Teaching Certificate in Art Education from the University of North Dakota. She went on to earn a Master of Arts in Painting and Sculpture from Moorhead State University in 1998. She currently works as a paraprofessional for Fargo Public Schools and continues to enjoy learning new media techniques by taking local workshops.


Keather Lindman is a Midwesterner by birth, growing up in Minneapolis-St. Paul area where she currently resides and works. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Ceramics and Art Education from Minnesota State University Moorhead in 2017. After completing her bachelor’s degrees she has sought various opportunities to teach art to children and young adults. This has deeply influenced the ways in which she perceives life, and has motivated her to continue a personal studio practice in a variety of media.


Annette Marchand attended college at Minnesota State University Moorhead (MSUM) where she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts (1994) and an art education degree (2001). She went on to earn a master’s degree from UW Stout, WI (2011). Notable arts and humanity experiences include an art internship in Scotland and participation in the EuroSpring program at MSUM. She is informed by research and meditation on all her interests, including philosophy, psychology, human physiology, and the science behind ceramics. She currently teaches art online at NDCDE and ceramic courses at the Center for Creativity, Plain’s Art Museum.


Alatera McCann was born in Fargo but grew up in southwest Minnesota. She has returned to the area to study art education and ceramics at Minnesota State University Moorhead. She is currently an Education Intern at the Plains Art Museum.


Catie Miller currently works as a studio potter from her home studio in West Fargo. After graduating from Minnesota State University Moorhead with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Ceramics and a Bachelor of Science in Art Education, Miller was chosen for a two-year artist residency at Red Star Studios in Kansas City, MO. The residency allowed her to foster relationships with a variety of talented artists, which through meaningful daily conversations allowed her to explore new ways to create a voice with her work. Her artwork has been exhibited and collected around the US and world. She has also had her work featured on the cover of Pottery Making Illustrated, in Ceramics Monthly, and several regional publications. Since her return to North Dakota, she continues to embrace many opportunities to work within the art community, teach workshops throughout the Midwest, embrace motherhood, and relax with her husband and small dog.



Jennifer Sue Nelson is a passionate ceramic artist and middle school art teacher who happily creates and resides in Fargo, North Dakota. Her passion for all things creative began early on and has stayed with her ever since. While her friends were playing with dolls, Jen was in the woods either digging holes or making epic forts. In addition to educating and making art, Nelson is the proud owner of her very own business called Jenny Sue. Through her whimsical creations, Nelson aims to brighten up the world one smile at a time. Getting to do what she loves every single day of her life is Nelson’s greatest reward. Nelson holds a Master of Arts in Differentiated Instruction from Concordia University, Saint Paul and a Bachelor of Science in Art Education from Minnesota State University Moorhead.


Ken Omundson was born and raised near Detroit Lakes, MN. He joined the Navy after high school and was stationed in Long Beach, CA on an aircraft carrier. After his time with the Navy, he attended college in Long Beach and graduated in 1974 with a Bachelor of Science in Physical Therapy. Omundson practiced physical therapy in many locations including California, Hawaii and Minnesota. He has always had an interest in the arts and enjoys creating stained glass, photography, and pottery. Since retiring, he has set up a studio in Felton, MN to dedicate more of his time to his passion and part-time obsession, pottery.


Helen Otterson is the Assistant Professor of Art and Design – Sculpture at Morehead State University in Kentucky. Previously she worked in Grand Forks, where she was an Assistant Professor of Art at the University of North Dakota. Otterson earned a BFA in Ceramics from the Kansas City Art Institute, a BA in Studio Art and Art History from Skidmore College, and an MFA in Ceramics from the University of Miami. Otterson has also been an Artist in Residence at the International Ceramic Studio in Hungary, the Contemporary Craft Museum, Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts, Vermont Clay Studio, Anderson Ranch, and Baltimore Clayworks. She has taught at the University of Miami, Florida Atlantic University, and the Kansas City Art Institute, and the Armory Art Center. Her primary materials are clay and glass and she recently has begun working with bronze combining forms derived from botanical and cellular imagery. Her palette is heavily influenced by the colors found in nature. Her works have been published in Clay Times and Ceramics Monthly and her works can be found in the permanent collections of San Diego’s Cancer Center, the Kansas City Art Institute, the University of Miami, Eastern Washington University, the University of California, the Nicolaysen Art Museum, and the Museum of Contemporary Craft.


Amber Parsons was born and raised in Fargo, ND. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Ceramics from MSUM in 2009. Her work includes a variety of decorative techniques that span from cake piping to decal transfers. Much of her work is a combination of hand built and wheel thrown pieces held together with organic texturing techniques to create a whimsical feel.


Ashley Polkinghorn makes functional and non-functional ceramics, which strive to express serenity and grace through form. She primarily makes thrown and altered work. Ashley is originally from Iowa and now lives in Fargo, ND.


Adam Priebnow is a potter based out of Moorhead, MN. He is an artist who loves wheel throwing and specializes in crystalline glazes. His love for ceramics started in college while pursuing a degree in psychology. His primary work focuses on crystalline vessels, a technique where the glaze shows noticeable crystal growth from how the glaze is formulated. He also has a passion for creating art that people can touch. Through touch, Priebnow believes people can develop a deeper connection to the art, creating conversation that is often lost in today’s society.

Brittany Ryba is as graduate of Minnesota State University Moorhead with a Bachelor of Fine Art in Art Education, as well as Ceramics. Since graduation in May of 2017, Ryba has been substitute teaching for art educators in the Fargo school district. She recently completed an Artist in Residency in Kindred, ND where she introduced art to an elementary school without an art program. Ryba’s voice as an artist revolves around the slow process of hand-building elements to create intrinsic value in pieces and bodies of work. Her artwork intertwines her equal love for people and ceramics, combining a visual that is appealing to children, and a narrative that resonates with adults.


Kathryn Scherfenberg throws and hand builds her forms from red earthenware clay. She employs a variety of decorative methods which include brushing, slip trailing, and sgraffito work. She layers multiple glazes to achieve a rich, varied and durable surface.


Sean Scott completed a BFA at Ohio University–Athens, and he earned an MFA from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. In 2005, Scott established Pomme de Terre Pottery with his spouse Kathryn Scherfenberg. Their studio is near their home just off the Otter Trail Scenic Byway in rural Battle Lake, Minnesota. Scott says, “I’m drawn to clay as a medium because of its physical nature, its ability to be radically transformed and because of the infinite visual and tactile expressions possible. I make pots because of their accessibility, their ‘willingness’ to be touched and handled. They also possess an inherent quality to draw upon content and metaphor especially as it relates to negative space, the earth, the human body, and ideas associated with sustenance and nourishment.”


Kelli Sinner is an artist and educator living in northern Minnesota. Originally from Utah, Sinner received her BFA from Utah State University and her MFA from Penn State University. She is currently a Professor of Ceramics at Minnesota State University Moorhead where she teaches ceramics, papermaking, and foundation design. In 2015 she received MSUM’s Excellence in Teaching Award. Before moving to Minnesota, Kelli worked in New York City where she taught ceramics at Marymount College Manhattan, the 92nd Street Y, and the Educational Alliance. Sinner has completed artist residencies at the Zentrum fur Keramik in Berlin, Germany, and the Letterpress Residency at Penland School of Craft in Penland, North Carolina.

David Swenson’s recent work includes three consecutive engagements at the International Snow carving Symposium in Winnipeg, Manitoba and an appearance on The Food Challenge Network’s Incredible Edible Landscapes in 2009. He also had a solo show at Sam Houston State University 2010.  Most recently He has completed the construction of the NDSU wood kiln. He is an Associate Professor in the Department of Visual Arts at North Dakota State University focusing on sculptural media and research in wood kiln design, construction, and firing techniques.  More information can be found at


Chance Taylor is an artist and potter currently pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Ceramics from North Dakota State University. His work explores the formal structure of plants and flowers by incorporating those structures into traditional ceramic forms. Taylor has displayed his work both locally and nationally. He has participated in various national juried and invitational exhibitions, most recently The Clay Studio of Missoula: International Cup Show in 2018.


Holly Van Santen Knipe earned her bachelor's degree in family studies from NDSU, and became fascinated with ceramics while serving as a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer in Central America. She then went on to study and enroll in ceramics courses at University of North Dakota. Fellow potters and the environments in which she has lived and traveled influence Van Santen Knipe. Her pottery reflects her desire to make something functional, yet still creative. The textures from the marks of process, decoration, and glaze assist in making the pieces unique. Her work is primarily made of stoneware, which is fired in her gas kiln to 2250 degrees. Van Santen Knipe believes the ability to eat and drink from a handmade piece of pottery, as well as enjoying the look and touch, allows the consumer to develop a relationship with the piece.


Emily Williams-Wheeler is a self-taught artist. Her artwork has sold worldwide. She has exhibited widely in solo and group shows throughout the Midwest. Her work is found in medical, educational, and corporate facilities. Frequently she works with architects and designers for commercial as well as residential installations. She was selected by TOSCA of Minneapolis as Artist of the Year. In July 2017, Williams-Wheeler’s work was the cover art and featured in an article for the international art magazine, 1340Art, based in Amsterdam. Currently, Williams-Wheeler is the touring artist for the North Dakota Art Gallery Association.


James Wolberg was born in Bismarck, North Dakota, and grew up in Dickinson, ND.  He earned his Bachelor of Arts in Ceramics and Painting from Minnesota State University Moorhead in 2003. Since then he has focused on architectural ceramic work in public and private locations, including custom sinks, doorways, tables, and lamps. As co-founder and manager of Roberts Street Studio (2005 – c.) and Upfront Gallery (2006-2010) in Downtown Fargo, he has hosted over 200 artists making and exhibiting their work.  Wolberg currently serves as the Studio Manager for The Katherine Kilbourne Burgum Center for Creativity at Plains Art Museum.