Current Residents


Chris Alveshere

Chris Alveshere's pots are an investigation of items he finds curious, feels sentimental towards, or objects he finds humor in. This investigation could come from the object’s surface, form, or most often from intriguing proportion or scale. Inflated swells, large knobs, and enamel-like sheens from sanded surfaces and glazes create exaggerated, vibrant pieces.

In Spring 2020, Chris received his Master of Fine Arts in Ceramics from New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University. Prior to his graduate studies, Chris spent several years as an arts educator in Minnesota and North Dakota. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art Education & Bachelor of Arts in Ceramics from Minnesota State University Moorhead.

Foremost is an intention to make pots that have a sense of whimsy, humor, and color. Audacious, lively, and cheeky, pieces with attitude and intention; a task I tackle through working both symmetrically and asymmetrically. Juicers that peek at you from a shelf in the corner, or through a cracked dishwasher door. Cups that operate daily, are convenient to store, and worth displaying in the open. Jars to arrange and enhance the presentation of food preparation or novelty keepsakes. Small jars that suggest endless possibilities for peculiar use, from storing saffron, a single Twizzler, or your collection of found cat whiskers. Ceramic vessels need to serve their purpose and be visually compelling if they are taking up precious space.


Ben Blackwood

Ben Blackwood grew up on the move until he finally settled into his family’s hometown of Bozeman, Montana where he has stayed throughout his adult life. Several years of pouring concrete for a living inspired him to return to school at Montana State University where he earned his BFA in Ceramics in 2019. His time at MSU sparked a passion for woodfiring and an interest in the physical and chemical properties of Montana’s local clays. This has allowed him to make work that satiates his cravings to labor and create, while also satisfying his urges to engage with the secluded wilderness of Montana.

My work seeks a balance between the rugged nature of raw clay, the physicality of process, and the subtle elegance of human touch. Working near the edge of loss of control, I pursue the point where the clay begins to give in to the laws of physics, and my will is no longer the only governing factor. This way of making requires a firing style with the same physical commitment, the same balance between rough and elegant, and flirtation with failure. This is why I wood fire, it allows me to approach the firing process with the same mindset that guides my interaction with wet clay. I can enhance my work with the palette I have developed from the reactions that occur between Montana’s iron-rich clays, white kaolins, and pine and cottonwood within the volatile atmosphere of the kiln. The result is obviously handmade, unquestionably wood fired vessels that are honest with regards to process and materiality.


Sara Catapano

Sara Catapano employs the use of forms, textures, and compositions found in nature as design elements in her ceramic sculptures to juxtapose against architectural components that exist in materials reminiscent of industry. She fuses an abstracted reference to plants, bacteria, and geological systems with patterns of growth, decay, degradation, erosion, and gestation to create a biomorphic ingredient which both confronts and reacts to the minimal and formalistic component.


Sara was born in St. Louis, Missouri. She attended UNC - Wilmington for two years before transferring to UNC - Charlotte where she graduated with a BFA in Fine Art, Ceramics in 2012. She received her MFA in Ceramics from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania in 2018. Most recently, Sara was a resident at Studio 740 in Helena, Montana.

Referencing the anatomical and parasitic residents of our natural world as a metaphor for the thoughts and feelings of the human condition, these bio-expressive forms are, in some ways, reactions and responses to social and personal experiences.


Lane Chapman

Lane is a utilitarian potter influenced by the natural world. Starting out as a painter and illustrator, she transitioned into clay after being hooked by her first class. Lane obtained a BFA in ceramics in 2017 from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. After graduating, she moved to Rochester, NY for a two-year residency at the Flower City Arts Center. Lane plans to continue her ceramic growth at the Clay Studio of Missoula stating in the fall of 2019.

Touch is powerful. It can be used as a source of communication and conveyer of emotion. I believe we crave intimacy and connection to the world, which I strive to achieve with my pottery. I explore the intimacy between object, user, and their natural surroundings through the interaction of function, form, and surface design. By bringing into play living organisms, I’m interested in their life cycles, their symbiotic relationships, their role within the ecosystem, and the parallels of these concepts found within human life.​

I illustrate handmade utilitarian vessels not only to comment on humans’ relationships with objects, but also the relationships between humans and the natural world. My illustrations speak to the beauty of the “small world” and their importance within our ecosystem. I direct viewers to see the disgust amongst the beautiful, to see the disgusting as beautiful.


Stephanie Dishno

Stephanie is a figurative ceramic artist currently residing in Missoula where she is the President and Co-Founder of Wildfire Ceramic Studio.


Her education in the arts includes a BFA from Herron School of Art and Design in 2012, a Post-Baccalaureate from the University of Alaska Anchorage in 2016, and an MFA from the University of Montana in 2020. She has also attended two short term residencies at Red Lodge Clay Center and was a Co-Director for a year and a half at FrontierSpace Art Gallery in Missoula. 

My work is about defining life experiences, which come together to create a personal narrative that portrays a journey through life and constructs a sense of identity. Each figure embodies a quintessential moment that feels exclusively intimate but is often universally experienced. Individually each figure reads as a snapshot in time, much like a chapter in a book. Together the figures create a story from my perspective and curiosities as a woman in today’s society.


UM Summer Resident
Brady Monk

Brady Monk was born in Victoria, British Columbia and grew up in Salt Lake City. In 2011 Monk suffered a traumatic brain injury which left him with partial paralysis of the left side of his body which was his dominant side. After a year of rehabilitation in Salt Lake City, Monk moved to Rhode Island and attended The Community College of Rhode Island where he discovered the limitless possibilities of working with clay. In 2017 Monk graduated from The Community College of Rhode Island with an Associates of Art and went on to receive his BFA at the University of Montana in 2020. He grew to love the local art community and has now made Missoula his permanent residence. He can be found at The Clay Studio of Missoula where he is currently the UM Summer Resident.


Retraining my brain by learning to make desired forms on the pottery wheel, has ultimately guided the content of my creations. My work explores the spontaneous qualities of making and glazing pottery. Each piece is my representation of how life is unpredictable.