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Mendhi hands by Pushpa Jain. Photographer unknown. All rights reserved.Fish decoy. Photo by Pearl Yee Wong. All rights reserved.Embroidered dress detail. Photo by Pearl Yee Wong. All rights reserved.Cedar bird by Glen VanAntwerp. Photo by Al Kamuda. All rights reserved.
Michigan Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Awards


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Ryan Dalman and Andrea Marsh
2016 master artist and apprentice
Marquette (Marquette County)
Wood fired pottery


Ryan Dalman was born in Holland, Michigan, into a family of tradesmen. He feels that this familial connection has helped him develop a strong work ethic, something essential to the grueling process of wood firing pottery. Further evidence of his work ethic and interest in hand craftsmanship is shown through his building and maintaining of a 40-acre homestead located "off the grid" outside of Marquette, Michigan. Ryan received a bachelor of science degree in earth sciene and a bachelor of fine arts in ceramics from Northern Michigan University. He continued his education with a three-month residency at the Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina. His experience there inspired him to build his own two chamber Noborigama style wood kiln in 2002 and he has been making his living by selling his pottery ever since.

The processes used in the creation of this wood fired pottery are highly specialized, requiring physical stamina and close attention. Ryan uses a kick wheel to throw the pots, then glazes and places the pots in the kiln for a single firing. This style of pottery requires a consistently hot kiln (2300 degrees Fahrenheit). Wood must be added every half hour to maintain the temperature over the course of the 40-hour firing. Ryan estimates that there are fewer than ten kilns of this type in the state of Michigan.

When he needed to rebuild his kiln, Ryan looked for assistance from apprentice Andrea Marsh. Andrea is a lower Michigan native who moved to the Upper Peninsula after college. She holds a bachelor of arts in studio art with a concentration in ceramics from Michigan State University. Ryan and Andera have been working together for three years. She hopes that this apprenticeship will help her to establish a consistent and cohesive practice and develope a complete understanding of the wood firing process. Her goal is to eventually reach master status and one day take on an apprentice of her own.

-Micah Ling


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