Current Residents



Nolan Baumgartner

Nolan BaumgartnerNolan BaumgartnerNolan Baumgartner received his BFA from the University of Utah in 2001, and his MFA in ceramics from Cranbrook Art Academy in 2004. A Utah native, he is a practicing studio potter and artist who shows in local and national exhibitions. He has taught at Oakland County Community College in Auburn Hills, MI, and he has been teaching at the University of Utah since 2006. He is currently an Associate Professor/Lecturer in Ceramics, and will be a summer resident at the Clay Studio of Missoula through late August.

My purpose in making pottery is to fuse utilitarian ware with the essence of an Eastern and Middle Eastern aesthetic. My work is meant to be used comfortably and easily, all the while maintaining a sense of posture and play. This objective emerges as I move and shape the clay, and through the polka dots and stripes that I render in slips and glaze. The dots are mapped out based on proportional relationships to the form. After the precise formation and decoration, the work is completed by the elements and atmosphere of the soda kiln. Ultimately, the interaction of the glazes, slips, and fire obscure, yet enhance, the preconceived cogency of the patterns.

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Margaret Haden

Courtney MurphyCourtney Murphy workMargaret Haden was born and raised in California's Central Valley. She received her BFA from the University of Wisconsin River Falls, and was a Post-Baccalaureate student at Oregon College of Art and Craft. In 2013 Margaret received her MFA from New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University. Margaret has been a resident at Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts in New Castle Maine, and will be the 2014-2015 artist in residence at Kansas State University. Currently Margaret is a short term resident at the Clay Studio of Missoula through mid-July.

I grew up in a family who attached great importance on the objects a person holds on to. Just like people, objects have lives and are witness to things. It is my intent that through making, I am able to enhance peoples experiences. My work is made using numerous repetitive processes. Hand building allows me the time, to contemplate the duality of form and surface. I make vessels and functional objects that facilitate containment and possess highly decorated surfaces. Beauty through elements of subtlety combined with excess is what drives my work.

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Courtney Murphy

Courtney MurphyCourtney Murphy workCourtney Murphy began working in clay while living in Brooklyn, NY. After several years of working for potters around the city, she moved to Portland, OR and received a post-baccalaureate in ceramics from the Oregon College of Art and Craft. Courtney moved to Montana in the summer of 2009 for a ceramic residency at the Archie Bray Foundation. Courtney will be a resident at the Clay Studio through July 2014

My designs are influenced by simplified abstractions of nature, children’s artwork, folk art, mid-century modern forms and shapes, as well as many books on ceramics, design and textiles. I am intrigued by the variation and imperfections found in hand-made objects, and the ways in which these marks reflect the maker of the piece. A slight change in the profile or image on a cup determines whether a person will be drawn to one over another. It is interesting when a particular object speaks to me, and I decide that I’d like to have it in my life.

Chad Steve

Courtney MurphyChad Steve workChad Steve received his BFA from University of Wisconsin-Stout and his MFA from University of Hawaii at Manoa. He has worked as an adjunct professor and lab technician at the University of Hawaii. Recently, he has been selected to participate in the ICMEA (International Ceramic Magazine Editors Association) 2013 Emerging Artist Competition in Fuping, China. Chad is currently a long-term resident at the Clay Studio of Missoula.

Concerned with innovation and function I treat each piece as a small sculpture. With consideration of line, mass, and balance I find an arrangement that displays a strong visual presence within each piece. Constructing both sculptural and utilitarian ceramics I am most intrigued by the way we connected and interact with objects in our daily lives.

Casey Zablocki

Casey Zablocki workCasey ZablockiCasey Zablocki was born and raised in the Upper Peninsula. He received his BFA from Finlandia University and studied ceramic design in Kuopio, Finland. He spent one year working and studying as an apprentice to Peter Callas and as a special student at Montana State. He has showed in both national and international exhibitions. Casey is currently the Woodfire Resident at the Clay Studio of Missoula.

I believe in form and function, craft and industry, which all need to be considered to create a balance in beauty. Knowing beauty is just a perception it allows me to use clay as a natural vehicle to transport my ideas. My ideas are influenced by my past and my present surroundings. I find acceptance that each idea will not be successful and believe if I continue the process of creating, my perception of success will change. I find wood firing to be the most efficient artistic tool in finishing my work.


University of Montana Summer Resident - Sasha Barrett

Sasha BarrettSasha BarrettSasha has always been interested in painting and drawing. When introduced to clay he enjoyed the physical and three dimensional aspects of it. He has worked as a studio assistant and clay mixer at a local ceramics studio in Boise, Idaho. Sasha have has been making work throughout his undergrad at Boise State University and most recently at his year at University of Montana.

I grew up in Ukraine. In my work I pay attention to cohesive design in form. My influences come partially from historical asian ceramics and partially from the modern. I am attracted to making large vessels which have a sense of upward movement and focussed on volume. Recently I have been exploring different surface decorations, incorporating my painting abilities. The surfaces I create are often painted with images relating to Ukraine and the Ukrainian people.