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Maria Poliszuk
Let me introduce myself... Maria, Studio Manager. Not to be confused with Marie, Crossings owner. But everyone confuses us, so I will answer to either name.

I do whatever needs to be done to keep things rolling at the studio. Or I let someone else know it needs to be done and they do it. Keeping track of stuff at the studio is a big job, like how much clay and glaze we have, and getting resupplied. I also do most of the clay recycling at the studio. I have some handy skills that I put to use often, like carpentry, plumbing and electrical work. My nickname is MacGyver, as it seems I am "armed with almost infinite scientific resourcefulness".

I enjoy teaching kids camps and adult classes. Helping others to enjoy working with clay is so rewarding. Each person approaches ceramics with a unique personality and it shows in their work. The most important thing that I teach is to allow yourself to fail, and go on from there. People can be so hard on themselves, and I want to help them learn from their experiences and grow in their pottery skills and as a person.

You will usually see me in the studio with my dog, Phoenix. She loves hanging out with everyone at the studio. Phoenix is the big white dog with little black spots. Orielle Jeanne (Marie's dog) is the little white dog with big black spots. Their spots might actually be the same size, given that the size of the dog changes our perception of the size of the spots.

I started in ceramics with a clay class at Crossings almost ten years ago, now. Most of my work is created on the wheel, but I also enjoy coiling very large pots and building boxes out of slabs. I have made a lot of honey pots, and also make the wooden dipper that is in them.

Karen Flynn
Karen here, I'm the kiln manager at the studio. It's my job to load and unload the kiln. It's a bit like doing jigsaw puzzles, which I also enjoy. The best part of my job is opening a glaze fire and seeing the beautiful pots and sculptures. I love seeing everyone's latest work, with new glaze combinations, shapes and textures. I also mix glazes, keep a good supply of underglazes, assist Maria with things that need to be done, and post on our facebook page.

I began my ceramics adventure about 5 years ago, when I started working at Red Wing Pottery (as a graphic designer). I started taking the clay classes they offered and bringing clay home to play with. I was hooked in a few months. I had taken pottery classes in college, but those mainly focused on the wheel. I found that I enjoy hand building much more than wheel throwing. All my current work is hand built, although Maria is pretty determined to get me started on the wheel. She's a good teacher. If anyone can teach me, she could.

I create functional pottery, as well as sculpture. I started carving designs into my work in the fall of 2018 and that has quickly become my favorite technique (known as sgraffito). Usually I work with white clay and a black underglaze, which gives a bold graphic look. When I get tired of doing that I get lots of colors out and do something wild like a hedgehog in a garden of colorful flowers. There are so many things you can do with ceramics, I have not even begun to explore the possibilities.

I teach summer camps, adult classes, and some special ed clay classes. I love seeing the joy on peoples' faces when they make something they like. Clay is a wonderful, tactile learning experience. Being a part of a community studio is great. It's wonderful to see people's work grow over time as they acquire new skills and try new things. We've all made our share of mistakes and encourage each other to try again and learn something new. Working with Marie/Maria is great fun. There's always plenty of laughter and lots of encouraging words. Now if I could just keep their names straight!

Jason Charron
Working clay for me is a new challenge everyday with endless possibilities.  I love how you're not restricted by the edges of a piece of paper or canvas. Art has been part of my life as early as I could hold a crayon and I first worked with clay when I was in grade school in an art program that let me miss school for the day to work on art projects. I continued to pursue working with clay in college where I double majored in marketing and art and took three semesters of ceramics.  I always enjoyed the freedom of hand building and continue to today.

Anne Rader
I grew up in Cleveland area (more Great Lakes than Midwest). I migrated to Chicago and then Minnesota in my 30's as a result of my "day" job in IT. I have spent the better part (nay best part!) Of my adult life In Minnesota and in particular the Pine Island area.

Growing up I have always been interested in the arts and crafts and have experimented with fabric art, mixed media, sculpture, and mosaics. Very recently I discovered clay and the Clay Studio and have fallen in love. I find that I repeat the common themes of my childhood. I gravitate toward animal Subjects and totems. Small wonder… at one time my son had 5 cats 3 dogs (one was the neighbors) and two rats (and er maybe a lizard) all of which I not only tolerated but encouraged.

My aspiration is to find my own voice combining both functional pottery with projects that involve totems and sculptures and more than likely it will incorporate creatures that are part of our dreams, folklore and mythology. That is where I would like to go with this.

Polly Noll
About three years ago, I enrolled two of my kids in a Beginning Wheel class at Crossing's, so I could tag along.

Neither of those kids really enjoy throwing on the wheel, but I have been hooked ever since.  I may not have learned much in that first class, but it was a slippery slope to another beginning class, a surface treatment class and an intermediate throwing class.

Somewhere in between the classes at Crossing's, I purchased a small portable pottery wheel to use at home, so my hands could spend as much time as possible in the clay - if only moments between kids, and house, and work...

Pottery is a medium where you can try anything with nothing to lose!

I can see something on a video or in a catalogue and try it, or change it, or scrap the whole thing - and start with something new.

I have been throwing on the wheel for three years. With a great baseline from the Beginning and Intermediate Classes - it's what I need to keep experimenting and learning. Not to mention, how this process allows me to escape and center a bit of my creative soul.