Art Students in Ceramics Travel to Bali to Build Soda Fired Kiln

Associate Professor of Ceramics, Brian Kakas, conducted an internship with 11 current Northern students and Alumni from the Northern Michigan University School of Art & Design that took place for 4 weeks in Bali, Indonesia.

NMU Art Students in Bali
NMU Art Students in Bali


The project was the culmination of a 3-year research project in the design and engineering of ceramic kilns conducted by Professor Kakas. The internship took place at Gaya Ceramic Art & Design and Art Center located in Ubud, Bali. The ceramic and design production center designs and fabricates high end one off ceramic product made exclusively by hand and can be found all over the world. During the month at the art center, the students learned about working practices and material science with raw materials in the formulation of clay for artistic and production pursuits. Northern students studied kiln designs and built the first Atmospheric Soda Kiln in Indonesia made from sustainable local materials. After construction was completed, the students worked alongside the worlds foremost researcher in the field, Dr. Gail Nichols a Michigan native currently living in Australia), and studied firing methods and practices using Sodium Carbonate along with LPG fuels.

Soda Fired Kiln (front) being blessed
Soda Fired Kiln (front) being blessed
Soda Fired Kiln - Front
Soda Fired Kiln – Front
Soda Fired Kiln Back
Soda Fired Kiln Back

Throughout these workshops, Northern students explored the rich and vast depths of the Balinese culture of traditional fabric dying, wood carving and jewelry making along with immersion into the cultural history exploring Hindu temples and life in villages. Participating students will be giving a lecture followed by a discussion about their experiences. The lecture is open to the public at the School of Art & Design, room 165 at 2pm, on Tuesday, September 13th.

NMU Ceramics Program

Computer Art Alumni Participates in Residency

Computer Art alumni Adrian Rivera is completing a residency as part of the Ayatana Artistic Research Program. The residency, Biophilia, is focused on the education and enrichment of artists through exposure and interaction with specialists working in biology. During the residency, the artists met with various scientists working in many different fields such as insect acoustics, biohacking, botany, mycology, and ornithology. The resident artists of the Biophilia Residency will take part in a group exhibtion in Ottawa, Ontario later in 2015/2016.

Rivera’s work (seen below) is derived from a source object or concept, the structures grow and deform in response to it’s surroundings. As new structures are formed pre-existing ones may shift and bend in the wake of new matter. As aspects of the natural world are imitated, the organisms have the ability to take forms not seen before by removing control and allowing living matter to grow onto the structures created.

Clathrus 4  Coyotl

Link to the Ayatana Artistic Research Program

Link to Adrian Rivera’s Portfolio Site

Link to Computer Art Program at Northern Michigan University

NMU Alum images featured on Vantage Photography Site

Nathan Bett
Photography 2004

Every Stare Directed at a Street Photographer in a Single Image is a photography series which includes composite photos that distill New Yorkers’ curiosity, distrust, and hostility toward the camera. Click Here to view the full online article.


Nathan Bett is an artist, photographer and educator living in Brooklyn, NY. He is originally from Marquette, MI. Nathan has a BFA from Northern Michigan University in Photography and an MFA from Parsons The New School For Design.

You can learn more about Nathan from visiting his website : 

Art Alumna Receives International Recognition for Design

Following the death of her fiance’s father, NMU School of Art & Design alumna Mia Cinelli (BFA in Graphic Communications in 2011) was searching for a way to deal with her grief. In missing his physical presence, she sewed hands to hold and became interested in the weight of these objects against her body. Researching weighted blankets and their use in therapeutic practices to treat anxiety and inability to focus, she designed “The Weight” A six-pound weighted blanket used to soothe the grieving. Reminiscent of a hug from behind, the object is both practical and poetic, lessening anxiety while becoming a metaphor for the heaviness of grief.

the weight 1 the weight 2

Press pages:

Digital Cinema Alum Create Music Video

Digtial Cinema Alumni Josh Quigley and Dusan Harminc created a new music video for musician Haley Bonar’s new song “From a Cage”. Directed by Josh, the video delivers a crosscut between a girl in a rowboat (who ages from infant to adult) and the singer Bonar delivering a vocal performance while walking through the woods towards the lake. Dusan adds many haunting moments through his beautiful and well executed cinematography.

Link to Digital Cinema Major
Link to Dusan’s Company Stumptown Media

Alumnus Recipient of the 2nd Annual MANIFEST PRIZE

Brett Eberhardt, a 2002 graduate of the School of Art and Design, has received the MANIFEST AWARD, sponsored by the Creative Research Gallery and Drawing Center in Cincinnati, Ohio. Mr. Eberhardt’s oil painting, titled “Red Plate”, was selected from 252 entries submitted by artists from across the country. Ten jurors review the entries until ONE from among hundreds is selected for exhibition in the Parallel Space Gallery , where it is the only work on display. The Manifest Prize has become an annual offering, which includes a cash award, and is featured in the gallery catalogue.

Eberhardt received his MFA from Syracuse University and is currently an Associate Professor of Painting at Western Illinois University. His work is exhibited nationally and he is represented by Packer Schopf Gallery in Chicago, Illinois.


Drawing and Painting


Alumnus Andy Gregg’s Lounge Chair Featured in Green Furniture Exhibition

School of Art and Design alumnus Andy Gregg’s S-2 HC lounge chair is included in the Green Furniture Exhibition at the Milwaukee Art Museum that runs through March 14, 2010. This handcrafted furniture is made from recycled and reused bicycles that are designed and produced by him at his Bike Furniture Design manufacturing studio located in Marquette, Michigan.

The Green Furniture Exhibition explores how 21st-century furniture makers seek to modify our aesthetic expectations—especially when it comes to forms that are multifunctional, recyclable, or made of alternative materials. Work by contemporary artists is featured alongside historical objects, exploring roots of the green idea in furniture design. Green Furniture also focuses on the concept of sustainable design, which centers not only around a responsible use of materials and methods of manufacture but also on issues of object life span, energy usage, and recycling/disposal.

Milwaukee Art Museum Exhibitions

Bike Furniture Design


Social Structures Students Visit Arketype

Pictured at right (standing center) is Paul Meinke (A+D Graphic Design,1984) who is Principal and President of Arketype, a national, award-winning design and advertising firm located in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Mr. Meinke and his staff graciously hosted a visit by two Social Structures classes traveling to Chicago in March. Students were provided with a tour of the firm’s new headquarters and a presentation that featured examples of Arketype’s services that include print, packaging, new media, and television. Arketype’s client base is a broad mix of consumer product and business-to-business companies, from Fortune 500’s to small businesses.



The February issue of AmericanStyle Magazine Features Alumni from the School

The February issue of AmericanStyle magazine features five alumni from the School of Art and Design. Patrick Dragon, Kathleen Conover, Maureen Bergquist Gray, and Ed and Julie Risak. The article highlights each artist’s work and their relationship to the beautiful but demanding environment of the upper peninsula of Michigan. The author of the article, Lynda McDaniel states: “This finger of land, tied to Michigan only by an address and a bridge, is so independent it could just as easily be the 51st state. Life here, unsullied by too many chain stores or media extravaganzas, moves ahead at its own pace, influenced less by modern culture than by nature and a rich history of Native Americans, logging and mining. A sort of artistic terroir flourishes, yielding artwork that is truly unique to this place”.