River to River Juried Exhibition

This exhibition is hosted by Coe College,  juried by artists Jill Foote-Hutton and Benj Upchurch

Pre-Conference Woodfire

At Kirkwood College

October 7th-9th

Come early to the 2020 Iowa Clay Conference and participate in a pre-conference woodfire.

Iowa Clay Conference

The Iowa Ceramics Center and Glass Studio of Cedar Rapids, Iowa is pleased to host the fifth biennial Iowa Clay Conference:

“Learning Pathways: A Celebration of Community and Clay”

  • Dates: Oct 9, 10, & 11, 2020
  • Demonstrators: Mark Skudlarek & Norleen Nosri
  • Panel Discussion: led by Clary Illian with Mark Skudlarek, Rick Hintze, Hallie Evans, Jill Foote-Hutton

Early Bird Tickets : $75 

until July 5th

Standard Ticket: $90  (July 6th– October 2nd)


Ticket includes: all Iowa Clay Conference programming at Iowa Ceramic Center and Glass Studio, Demonstrations and Presentations on March 9th & 10th and Saturday Evening Panel Discussion and Reception.

*Please contact ellen@iowaceramicscenter.org for Student Pricing  

River to River 


In conjunction with the 2020 Iowa Clay Conference is the Juried Regional Exhibition “River to River”.   This exhibition is with Coe College and is juried by artists Jill Foote-Hutton and Benj Upchurch.  

This exhibit will highlight the richness and diversity of ceramic art within Iowa and across the Midwest. Participation is open to all artists 18 years of age or older in Iowa and states directly adjacent to Iowa. 


  • Deadline: Sunday July 5th, 2020
  • Cost of Submission: $30 for two individual works


  • Friday, September 11th – Saturday, October 10th 2020 
  • Closing Reception and Awards: Friday, October 9th from 5-7pm


1st Place: $200 and a Solo Exhibition in the ICCGS Chadima Gallery with $150 stipend/ 2nd Place: $100/ Honorable Mentions: $50

Click the link below to be redirected to submit your work!


Kirkwood Community College 

October 7th-9th


Come early to the 2020 Iowa Clay Conference in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and participate in a pre-conference wood firing event.

Zach Wollert, the Ceramic Faculty at Kirkwood Community College, will lead a group firing of a single chamber wood kiln built by renowned kiln builder Donovan Palmquist and his team.

Bring your bisqueware to fire during this event with instruction about glazing, wadding, soda introduction, and reduction cooling.

Costs will cover a 6” high x 12” wide x 12” deep area of work (a similar space of any standard empty 50lb. box of clay).  Costs will also include use of glazes and wadding.

The schedule is tentatively organized to glaze and wad on the evening of Wednesday Oct 7th, loading and firing starts the morning of Thursday Oct 8th, and finishing the firing before noon on Friday Oct 9th– just in time for the start of the conference.  The unloading of work will occur at 10am Sunday October 11th.

Participants will need to bring high fire, cone 10 rated bisqueware for the firing.

If you have questions about the schedule, participation, clays, or anything else; please contact Zach at zach.wollert@kirkwood.edu

Additional information, and a link for registration will be available after May 1st.


Mark Skudlarek

2020 Clay Conference Demonstrator and Panelist


Mark Skudlarek was first introduced to pottery while attending Saint John’s University in central Minnesota. He was originally interested in painting, but after taking a ceramics class, Skudlarek was drawn to clay. It simply felt right.

In 1981, he had the opportunity to travel to central France and work in the historic pottery village of La Borne. It was there he had his first experience firing wood-burning kilns. Skudlarek was immediately seduced by the process and the results from the kilns.

Returning home in 1983, he sought a four-year apprenticeship with Todd Piker at the Cornwall Bridge Pottery in Connecticut and in 1988, he moved to Wisconsin where Skudlarek, and his wife Gaea, founded Cambridge Wood-fired Pottery.

Norleen Nosri

2020 Clay Conference Demonstrator


Norleen Nosri is a visual artist and educator who was born and raised in Malaysia. She received a BFA in Ceramics and Minor in Art History (2010) and an MFA in Ceramics (2013) from the University of Missouri-Columbia. Her work has been featured in galleries and museums in Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Tennessee, Texas, Washington and Malaysia.  She led the Children’s Pottery Program at the non-profit School of Service-Access Arts for seven years, creating classes for special needs children and adults. She has taught ceramic arts, sculpture, and design for every age and skill level including university. Currently, she is faculty at St. Louis Community College-Forest Park teaching Ceramics and Sculpture .

Benj Upchurch

2020 River to River Juror 

Benjamin Upchurch was born and raised along the western slope of the Rocky Mountains. His work in the craft tradition generates pathways of expression that have inherent ties to creative and geological processes evident in the earth’s crust. He earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Montana State University in 2006 and a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Iowa in 2009. Upchurch’s utilitarian vessels are primarily fired in wood-burning kilns and have been included in exhibitions throughout the country. He has taught ceramics at numerous colleges and institutions, including the University of Iowa where he serves as the Instructional Studio Specialist in Ceramics.

Jill Foote Hutton

2020 River to River Juror and Panelist 

Jill Foote-Hutton holds a BFA in sculpture from Webster University (1994) and an MFA in ceramics from the University of Mississippi–Oxford (2003). She travels and engages with numerous communities, delivering strength and exploration to her audiences through her creative base, Whistlepig Studio. Her work––inspired by tribal culture, Joseph Campbell, comic books, anime, and art history––interacts with communities as a robust narrative, instigating creative practices and triumphant story. Since the beginning of Whistlepig Studio, Foote-Hutton has traveled and engaged communities with interactive monster chalkboards in Missouri, North Dakota, Wisconsin, Texas, Montana, and Florida.

Clary Illian

Panel Moderator

Rick Hintze


Hallie Evans


Zach Wollert

Pre-Conference Instructor 

Schedule of Events  




Thursday, Oct. 8th




Pre-conference woodfire at Kirkwood College




5:00-7:00pm Welcome Reception at Mount Mercy University




Friday, Oct. 9th




9:00–12:00 Pre-Conference woodfire at Kirkwood College




12:00–2:00 ICCGS Resident Artist Presentations 




2:00–4:30 Norleen Nosri and Mark Skudlarek Demonstrations




5:00–7:00 River to River and Demonstrator Exhibition Receptions at Coe College




Saturday, Oct. 10th




9:00–11:15 Norleen Nosri and Mark Skudlarek Demonstrations




11:15–12:15 Break for Lunch




12:15–1:15 Presentation




1:00–4:00 Norleen Nosri and Mark Skudlarek Demonstrations




5:00–6:30 Panel Discussion




Clary Illian – Moderator 




Mark Skudlarek, Rick Hintze, Hallie Evans, Jill Foote-Hutton – Panelist 




6:30-8:30 Conference Reception 




Sunday, Oct. 11th




10:00 – 11:20 Pre-Conference woodfire unload at Kirkwood College 







We are hard at work on the Conference Schedule!  Check back soon for more details.




Where to Stay

Things to See  

There are numerous hotels and Airbnb’s located near our NewBo district, click the link below for a full listing with links to book your stay!

History of the Iowa Clay Conference  

In 2011 The biennial ‘Iowa Clay Conference’ is created. The conference is the first such event in the state to bring together and celebrate the accomplishments of Iowa potters, artists and arts educators. Participants from across Iowa and the Midwest are invited to participate.

The keynote address was presented by local potter Clary Ilian and the conference featured Coe Gallery Director Jennifer Rogers, Ohio University Professor of Art Brad Schwieger, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Professor of Art Pete Pinnell and Cornell College Assistant Professor of Art Susannah Biondo-Gemmell as the primary presenters.

Sept. 20-22, 2013  The ‘2nd Biennial Iowa Clay Conference’ featured a keynote address by Peter Pinnell and demonstrations by Bede Clarke, Israel Davis, Margaret Bohls and EJ Erdahl.

October 1-4, 2015 The 3rd Biennial Iowa Clay Conference’ features Linda Christianson and Joe Pintz, with a Pre-Conference Workshop lead by Gerit Grimm.

October 5-7, 2018 The Center holds its ‘4th Iowa Clay Conference’. The conference features demonstrations and presentations of the working processes of Matt Kelleher and Janis Wunderlich, with guest presenter Zachary Wollert.

October 9-11, 2020 The 5th Biennial Iowa Clay Conference. The conference will feature demonstrations and presentations of the working processes of: Mark Skudlarek & Norleen Nosri with Panel Discussions led by Clary Illian with Mark Skudlarek, Rick Hintze, Hallie Evans and Jill Foote-Hutton.