I grew up in rural East Central Illinois, and since I was homeschooled I spent much of my time exploring and learning about the woods and prairie around my house. My father was an entomologist and my mother is an artist and avid gardener, so much of the knowledge of the natural world acquired during my childhood still feeds into my work today. I have been working in clay since 2003 when I started taking classes at Parkland College in Champaign, Illinois. At the time I had a dual focus on clay as well as fine art jewelry, something I also seriously pursued until fairly recently.
In 2009 I took my first clay class at Penland School of Crafts, an 8-week Spring Concentration on wood, soda, and salt firing with McKenzie Smith and Gregory Hamilton Miller. This class was a revelation: it was my first experience with firing wood or atmosphere kilns, and I fell in love with the subtle active surfaces that these firings produce. Since then I have been back to Penland for 8-week workshops with Gay Smith and Scott Goldberg, Suze Lindsay and Kent McLaughlin, Matt Kelleher, and most recently to build a new wood kiln with Kevin Crowe and Dan Finnegan. I have also been invited to assist at Penland during summer sessions for Elisa Helland-Hansen and Phil Rogers. Between sessions at Penland I apprenticed for four years with Michael Schwegmann at Boneyard Pottery back home in Champaign, Illinois. I completed a one-year residency at St. Pete Clay, in St. Petersburg, FL in 2014, and am currently living in the Penland community, and working for area potters.