Originally from rural Virginia, Anna Metcalfe now lives in Minneapolis, MN where she teaches, works in her studio and dabbles with backyard farming. In 2001, armed with an English degree and an obsession with clay from the College of William and Mary, Anna completed a 2 year apprenticeship with Silvie Granatelli in Floyd, VA. She then spent 3 years traveling, learning and teaching in places like Halifax, Nova Scotia, Certaldo, Italy, and Ballycastle, Northern Ireland. In 2009 she graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2009 with her MFA. Anna is currently an adjunct instructor at the University of MN Department of Art and teaches professional development for artists for Springboard for the Arts, an artist-run organization based in St. Paul, MN. She is a recipient of a Jerome Foundation Emerging Artist’s Project Grant for Public Art in 2009, a MN State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grant in 2013 and 2015, and a Jerome Foundation Study and Travel Grant in 2014.
I make art in response to beautiful moments: a flock of wild turkeys stranded because of a swollen river, the crack of a freshly opened walnut, the internal vibrations of a beehive in the winter, a hot meal made of fresh vegetables, a warm brown chicken egg freshly laid. Even as powerful, is my desire to understand and respond to the needs I see in my community: the gap in access to good food that exists between privilege and poverty, the tension between agriculture and water quality, or a beehive that dies because of a neighbor’s pesticide. My work connects two worlds – a natural one and the human one. Through interactive and collaborative projects, I hope to create joyful ways to connect with nature and build trust in unexpected places.
Clay, a medium that finds its way into every home as a sink, a dish or a decorative object, is a ubiquitous and tactile material. I use it as a springboard for engagement and collaboration. The ceramic object functions as both a facilitator and a storyteller in my work, allowing for interaction and participation. My projects are platforms for other members of my community to share their stories, and through use, ceramic objects become agents of communication. My collaborations manifest in many ways: traditional recipes as narrated by Hmong family elders printed onto blue and white porcelain plates, teenagers’ stories about the Mississippi River printed onto sculptural hanging boats that float through space, or a ceremonial set of cups to commemorate the memory of a coffee ceremony in Ethiopia.