Jan 13, 2012

FVCC Expands Ceramics Classes; Welcomes New Faculty

Flathead Valley Community College is expanding its lineup of ceramics classes this spring. Classes will begin January 17, and the college will resume registration January 13.
Courses will include “Introduction to Ceramics,” “Ceramics I,” “Ceramics Studio: Tools and Tech” and “Ceramics Studio: Wheel Throw.” The classes will provide opportunities to earn up to three college credits and will be taught by ceramics instructors David Smith, Robert Markle and newcomers Randi O’Brien and Stephen Braun.

Smith joined the FVCC faculty in 2008 after teaching ceramics and design at Southeastern Louisiana University, Baton Rouge Community College, University of Louisiana and North Star Ceramic Center in Spokane. Originally from Spokane, Smith earned a Bachelor of Arts in English at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Wash., and a Master of Fine Arts from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, La. Last year, Smith was one of 18 artists invited to participate in a national traveling exhibition featuring works by Montana ceramic artists. He also was one of 45 artists among 1,000 applicants whose works were exhibited at the 2011 National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts Biennial Show at the Tampa Museum of Art. In addition, Smith was published in the September/October 2010 issue of “Pottery Making Illustrated,” the leading ceramic art magazine in the United States.

Born and raised in Sidney, Mont., Markle studied at Alfred University in New York, and FVCC, where he previously taught pottery for several years before his return to the college to teach this spring. A stalwart of the Hockaday Museum of Art and Arts In The Park since the beginning, Markle has been working and fine-tuning his ceramic craft and aesthetic values for over 30 years. In addition to having his works exhibited widely in Montana and the northwest, the works of the Columbia Falls resident are found in the permanent collections of several museums, including the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D. C.

O’Brien recently earned a Master of Fine Arts in Ceramics and is pursuing a Master of Arts in Art History from The University of Montana in Missoula. In addition to teaching art history for Montana State University in Billings and serving as a 3-D and 2-D studio technician for The University of Montana, she has taught ceramics at The Clay Studio of Missoula and is a former art and ceramics teacher for Bridger Public Schools and a former art teacher for Frenchtown School District. Her works have been exhibited in group and solo shows across the nation, and she was awarded Best in Show at the College Clay Collective at Genesee Pottery in Rochester, New York.

Braun, of Whitefish, has exhibited his work internationally and is known for his large scale raku fired figurative sculptures. He is represented by the John Natsoulas Gallery of Sacramento, Calif.

To view course descriptions, schedule and registration information, visit For registration assistance, call 756-3848.