Ephraim Pottery is growing! We are so excited to introduce these two new artists – Allison Jelenchick in glazing and Alek Schroeder in sculpting & throwing. Here they are working on the Fairytale Birdhouse Ornaments.
Allison is a native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She attended school at University of Wisconsin-Whitewater with multiple majors in Graphic Design, Marketing and Spanish. At the university she expanded her childhood interest in drawing and became interested in ceramics as well.
Allison, Can you describe your creative process?
“My dad was a chef and watching and learning from him about cooking at a young age has shaped the way that I create art. I prefer to understand how to create something in a general way and then use that foundation to improvise and see where that leads.”
Besides art, what are your other hobbies?
“I love to be outdoors, biking and hiking. I also enjoy traveling and cooking. One big dream I have is to hike the Appalachian Trail someday.
What have you been focusing on so far at the studio?
“So far I have spent a lot of time training in glazing with Jennifer and Becky. I have been able to learn how to glaze a bunch of different forms with different relief styles as well as tiles. I have been experimenting on my own with different glaze combinations and creating test vases with these varied combinations. I have also been learning other studio jobs besides glazing, such as tile pressing, pugging clay, and grinding pots.”
What do you like about working at Ephraim?
“I love the freedom that I have to explore here. The people are awesome and I enjoy challenging myself to become a better artist.”
Alek grew up in nearby Cambridge, Wisconsin. He had an unusually early interest in ceramics and spent a large part of his childhood pursuing art. He also has a strong background in mechanics and maintenance which makes him a valuable fit for our studio.
Alek, Tell us how you first become interested in ceramics.
“Rowe Pottery had a large presence in Cambridge and I was exposed to a bit of ceramic art in middle school. In 8th grade I job shadowed a potter at Rowe Pottery and that is when I knew that I wanted to become a potter. After that, I took every ceramics class the high school and community college offered. I borrowed a wheel from a family friend and began throwing in my garage and eventually set up my own studio with a kiln.”
What do you like to do in your spare time?
“I love to work in my studio and work on building my studio up into what I want it to be. I am also a big Volkswagen enthusiast and I enjoy tinkering with older VW’s.”
What have you been up to at Ephraim?
“Kevin has been training me to throw a variety of forms. I spend a couple of hours everyday practicing these forms and refining my technique. Kevin and Laura are teaching me sculpting techniques. I have also been able to jump in and help with kiln loading and maintenance. One day I hope they will call me the ‘kiln master.’”
What is your favorite part about working at the studio here?
“I love waking up every morning excited to go to work and create art with my friends. It’s so great to have the freedom to create alongside some extremely gifted artists who are very open and supportive to new ideas.”