Meet the Founder

Cream City Clay Open for Business

Colleen Volland is a working artist and teacher with more than 15 years of experience nurturing artists. Her mission for Cream City Clay is to create a space that radiates creative energy, and promotes excellence in pottery and ceramic art.

Her experiences running the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Craft Center and teaching Murray Hill Pottery as well as conferences and workshops, have prepared her to provide excellent instruction, mentoring and quality equipment and a professional working environment.

Why ceramics?

“It’s the perfect balance of science and art,” Colleen says. “Glazing involves the chemistry of color and glass. Firing is all about thermodynamics. Building a large sculpture or throwing a complex shape involves engineering and physics. And keeping a steady hand requires a calm heart and a prayer-like breath.”

Colleen especially enjoys creating pieces that are not only beautiful, but highly functional and says that doing so takes balance. “Working with clay is rich. It brings my life balance, and I hope it will bring balance to you as well.”

Why Cream City Clay?

“It’s the most exhilarating journey I can imagine, and I’m so excited to share it,” Colleen says. “People need a place where they can relax and be creative, and leave their stress at the door.”

Colleen envisions a true community of artists encouraging each other on the journey. “Artists need a place to grow, teach and begin to sell their work. Working together in a community studio pushes us farther and helps us to take creative risks,” Colleen says. “When I help a student achieve something they didn’t think they could, I end up learning as much as the student.”

The bona fides: Colleen earned a BSE in Art Education from UW-Whitewater, where she learned to throw, mix glazes and fire kilns under the direction of Karl Borgeson and Charlie Olson. Following her undergrad she pursued  a graduate degree from UW-Milwaukee where she earned a Masters of Art.  Studying under Pam Schermer of UWM, Colleen learned the brushwork techniques she uses today to adorn her ceramics with colored slips and underglazes. She’s taken workshops from instructors including Linda Christenson and Julia Galloway where she learned incising techniques and porcelain work. Her experience wood firing with Jeff Noska and Chris Davis Benavides in the Waterville Anagama was an unforgettable experience. The collaboration of 3 universities and the local community resulted in a very successful firing with beautiful wood fired pottery and taught her about the power and positive outcome of artists working together. Colleen regularly attends NCECA (National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts) conferences to learn new techniques and talk with other working artists. She’s enjoyed learning from Tony Winchester, Tony Ferguson, Jeff Shawhan, Steven Hill, Fong Choo and Robin Hopper.

Colleen Says, “My work is an investigation of simple beauty, real beauty. It may be fresh and new or may have weathered many difficulties. It is enriched by closely observing what surrounds me.” “I am constantly learning.”

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