2015 Award Winners →

The 13th annual It’s Only Clay (IOC) event will bring a full weekend of ceramics-related activities and exhibits to Bemidji! November 6 will be the IOC show reception, from 5-7 p.m. at Watermark, with awards announced at 6. In addition to the IOC exhibit, visitors can also see an exhibit of 2015 Juror Butch Holden’s work at the Talley Gallery of BSU, and former IOC Juror Tim Brockman in BSU’s X2 gallery. That weekend, Bemidji State University will also host one if its TAD talks series, modeled after the famous TED talks.

Meet 2015 IOC Juror, Butch Holden


John (Butch) Holden received his BA in art from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, and his MFA degree in ceramics from Indiana University, Bloomington.

He is currently a visual arts professor in the Technology, Art and Design department at Bemidji State University, where he has taught since 1983. He has exhibited in local, regional, and national competitions, and also has had many solo exhibitions. In addition to having juried many shows, he has served on numerous art grant panels.


Juror Statement:

In my first ceramic experiences during a workshop at the University of Minnesota in Duluth (1974), the instructor, Walter Hyleck, challenged my classmates and I to make a container for ideas.

I can’t stop!

The form and surface of my ceramics compel closer inspection to markings, colors, shapes, patterns, and textures.
Associations and meanings are evoked but not specifically described. Sources P1100139are distilled from nature and geometry, but I try to avoid being blatant. Groupings of ceramic forms multiply interpretations and allow me to bypass the size constraints presumed with this medium.

Ceramics is very much like gardening. Planning, preparing, and fulfilling tasks with much optimism for a favorable outcome – and when it occurs, a humble recognition that I was allowed to assist.

Related Events:
This year’s It’s Only Clay event brought four days of ceramics-related activities to Bemidji. In addition to the exhibit at Watermark, be sure and check out the following events and exhibits at BSU. All events are free and open to the public:

Tuesday, November 3: “Optimism,” an exhibit featuring work by Butch Holden, opens at the Talley Gallery at BSU. Reception: 12 p.m. – 3 p.m., with artist talk at 12:30. There will also be a continuing ceramics exhibit in Gallery X – “Ceramics: Past and Present” by Tim Brockman.

Wednesday, November 4: TAD Talk and Harlow Collection Exhibit. Reception will be the Ramsey Gallery at 6:30 p.m., featuring work from the Margaret H. Harlow Teaching Collection. TAD Talk will begin at 7 p.m. in Thompson Recital Hall, Bangsberg Fine Art Complex, BSU. TAD Talk will feature Holden speaking on “A Brief History of Butch Holden Ceramics: Fifty Years of Making Art.”

Thursday, November 5: Workshop with Butch Holden, from 12 p.m. – 4 p.m. in the Ceramics Studio, Bensen Hall 105, BSU. Demonstrations will include wheel and hand forming, and surface techniques, such as texturizing and glazing.

It’s Only Clay is also made possible, in part, by a grant from the Region 2 Arts Council, through an appropriation by the Minnesota State Legislature, and Cultural Heritage Fund passed by the Minnesota voters on November 4th, 2008.

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