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Robert DeArmond, Karen Keenan, and Ray Shelerud | Reconnecting Through Clay

Steffl Gallery | March 28–May 17 | Art Night Out April 25

Minnesota clay artists Robert DeArmond, Karen Keenan, and Ray Shelerud follow the same calling: creating distinctive ceramics for everyday use. Their creativity is nourished by the clay, and the resulting aesthetic quality of their pieces reflects their dedication. They value the daily impact of using handmade goods, of building work that feels good to hold. Keenan explains, “Handmade includes feeling personally connected to the maker.”

DeArmond, Keenan, and Shelerud first connected in the 1970s. They shared teachers, perspectives, and a devotion to pottery that brings joy. With their respective careers in teaching, arts administration, and construction, they launched into life outside the studio. They met again in retirement, reconnecting through their passion for clay. From experimenting with glazes to playing with scale and adding embellishments, the three continue to investigate the complexity of clay. In turn, they inspire others to explore something in their lives that they once found rewarding, engaging, and meaningful.

Robert DeArmond, Karen Keenan, and Ray Shelerud live and work in Duluth, Minnesota. They help foster a vibrant community at the Duluth Art Institute Lincoln Park Building Clay Studio that honors mastery and individual voice. As their joint artist statement states: “While our work is unique, we are motivated by the quest to grow in our craft.”

Image Credit: Ray Shelerud, “Square Lidded Container;” Bob DeArmond, “Round Lidded Container;” Karen Keenan, “Pedestal Dessert Plate”

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