I have been an artist since I can remember. My favorite toys were play doh and big sketch books.
In elementary school we moved a lot, and I could always make a friend at a new school by drawing
something to arouse curiosity.
At Winona State University I earned a BA in art, and concentrated as much as possible in ceramics.
I was fresh out of college and found a job with a large scale production pottery in central Iowa.
"Earthworks" was where I spent a year employed with total studio involvement. Not only producing
slab constructed vessels ,slump moulded dinnerware, tiles, and extruded pieces,but participating in
every other phase of production pottery , glazing, loading kilns, packing and shipping, travelling to
art shows to sell the ware, and all of the regular studio cleaning chores. This experience led to
work in several more potteries as Paul (who I met at Earthworks) and I began our partnership and
Morris Pottery in 1982.
My post college experiences in large production potteries taught me a great deal about running real
life pottery businesses. The work was hard, and the pay was low, and many people came and left,
but the ones that stuck it out got priceless experience and practice honing skills. I owe a great deal
to my "bosses" of those days for their generosity with information and for paying me while I
I have always preferred hand building clay , and never gained proficiency with the wheel. My
contribution to the production work involved sculpted fish, sculptural handles for mugs and jar lids,
and occasionally slip trailing pieces.
It was in 1991 when we formed the partnership of Rockhard Stoneware that I became a full time
decorator for our own version of a production pottery. This was great for me because I was raising
a daughter ,Lily, and a huge garden,and a host of pets. Also practicing my violin, playing in bands
and just jamming with friends. In 1999 I began my job as a substitute teacher. Around 2004 I
started teaching violin//fiddle.
When Rockhard dissolved in 2003 , we had a vision of a slower pace of production, and a more
home based marketing plan.
In the last few years, I have sought balance in my creative life. I still slip trail on functional wares,
and I indulge myself in sculpting whatever my heart moves me to make. I have dabbled with molds,
but feel that such a process stops my progress toward my goal of showing the life in a subject.
Slip trailing is spontaneous and loose, and sculpting is meticulous and slow, so I like switching
between the two. Each skill enhances the other. Denise updated 1/2011
Copyright 2005 2011
Morris Pottery DSMorris