MARIE VON ANCKEN
Welcome! Tervetuloa! Bienvenidos! Bienvenue!
I am Marie von Ancken and I am a pottery apprentice in so-called Corrales, New Mexico, on occupied Tiwa land. I began VONA CLAY as a way to continue my creative experimentation with clay and to bring awareness to humanitarian and environmental causes I care about. I hope you like my work and consider donating to the causes I support besides through your purchases of pottery.
[Disclaimer: I am not here to make you feel comfortable. I am not even here to make me feel comfortable. What I am here to do is sell you clay creations that make you happy when you use them and to challenge the status quo. I think through uncomfortable conversation about important issues with people of different opinions we can progress to a more just and equitable and empathetic and compassionate and Mother Nature loving future. Sounds nice, right? I think so. So I encourage you to engage, to buy vessels, to donate to the causes I support, and to call me out on things I get wrong, so we can learn together.]
I've been exploring pottery seriously since October of 2016 when I started working as an apprentice with Dan Feibig in Corrales, New Mexico. In his words, "he teaches in the way he wishes he had been taught", which I thoroughly appreciate. We fire to cone 6 and mix all our own glazes, all Dan's recipes.
In the summer of 2020, a few very special humans in my life helped me realize my dream of having my own pottery studio, which we built out of a 20-foot shipping container. There are a few finishing touches construction-wise still to come, but the space has been functional since March of 2021. Managing my own studio for the first time has challenged me to figure out air circulation and drying rates and how to time everything to be ready for the next step, busting a number of nice pieces in the process...if anything, pottery keeps you humble. I am absolutely loving this experience.
Lots of people have asked about the name VONA CLAY and it is pretty simple. My first name is Stephanie which is hella generic and my last name is von Ancken, not exactly easy to remember or spell. So, in a stroke of someone's genius, VONA CLAY emerged. A friend who is a creative director helped me with the logo and font back in October of 2019 and voilà, suddenly I have an online store. To me, it feels like it all has happened very quickly, but I know a lot of very patient friends have been pushing me to start selling my work for over three years so thank you for your patience and encouragement. I would not have been here without y'all's support. So here we are! Can you believe it? I definitely can not. But I'm excited to be here and use this platform for pottery and what little social change I can create.
I plan to use the blog feature on this website to post about the shipping container build, announce upcoming store updates, and promote the work of the organizations I support. So check it out here when you get a chance.
A few non-clay goals of mine this year include learning more about the following: rocks, plants, the history of racism in our country, astronomy, the psychology of emotional and cognitive empathy and photography.
When I'm not in nature or potting (nah, pottery work is actually called 'throwing' but wouldn't it be cool if we called it "potting?") I work for an environmental non-profit (Holistic Management International, check it out) as a Programs Manager creating educational programming in all things regenerative agriculture and Holistic Management. My Holistic Goal (if you know you know) definitely involves community development and clay creations so this passes the test. What else, ohhh let's copy my bio from work here and save me some time writing this:
Marie von Ancken is a Programs Manager for HMI, advanced ceramic apprentice, and anti-oppression activist. She is passionate about environmental justice and regenerative farming as a solution to transforming our food system and addressing climate change. She grew up in Corrales, New Mexico, where her family raised chickens and has spent significant time living in Finland, France, and Nicaragua. She has participated in numerous international non-profit efforts and has worked closely with the Communitas Foundation, a non-profit providing educational and extracurricular support for at-risk youth in Central America. In 2017 she joined the board as co-director and treasurer of the foundation. Marie was a Rotary International Exchange student to Naantali, Finland her junior year of high school and continues to work with Rotary’s Youth Exchange Program facilitating talks on culture shock and intercultural communication. She is fluent in Spanish and Finnish, conversational in French, and works as a Spanish interpreter with indigenous artist communities from Central and South America. As Program Manager at Holistic Management International, Marie has spent the last five years developing learning opportunities, both locally and internationally, that aim to educate farmers, ranchers and food advocates in agricultural practices that increase organic matter in the soil, grow nutrient-dense foods, and sequester carbon while empowering them to strengthen their businesses and improve their quality of life. Marie has a bachelor’s degree in International Business Management and Sustainability Studies from the University of New Mexico/College of Charleston/IPAG School of Business – Nice, France. She is an Aldo Leopold Land Ethic Leader and is glad she “will not be young in a future without wilderness.”
OK, that seems to sum it all up, thanks for coming by :)
Marie von Ancken