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2014 Horizon Award:
Honors a graduate of the past 15 yrs. for early career accomplishments or exceptional service to their community.

Amy Uthus
Click to watch biography video
2007 B.A. art and English, NDSU
2012 M.F.A. ceramics, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth

Occupation: Artist-in-Residence at RDG Dahlquist Art Studio

“Amy is one of the most successful early career students I can imagine…”
~ Betsy Birmingham, as written in her award nomination

Amy Uthus grew up in Grand Forks, N.D. She has fond memories of childhood family vacations spent under the wide open landscape of the Great Plains. She credits these memories for much of her artistic inspiration.

Amy followed in one of her older sister’s footsteps and chose to attend North Dakota State University. With aspirations for the pre-med program, she received many academic scholarships and was also a member of the track and field team. After a short time, she realized that pre-med was not the path for her and enrolled in a drawing class. During an assignment, the instructor, Wayne Tollefson looked over Amy’s shoulder and said, “This is great! You should be an art major.” The rest is history.

During her junior year at NDSU, a myriad of health issues caused her step away from the track and field program. It was this bend in the road that spurred Amy’s love affair with ceramics. Her personal struggles seemed to mirror the grey stoneware clay she was using in studio – both seemed to be full of little bits of extraneous junk floating around, clogging the brightness. Craving a pure and smooth canvas, she pleaded with her professor, Dave Swenson for porcelain. Dave warned Amy, “You’re just asking for heartache.” At that point, Amy made it her mission to master the material.

She has since discovered that porcelain is, indeed, not without heartache. She fired 56 panels to get the six that were suitable to hang for her installation, Potential (2010). The other 50 broke in the firing. Countless more broke, cracked or tore in the casting and drying process and were reclaimed before even hitting the kiln shelf. Despite this, the lure of porcelain’s beauty continues to fascinate Amy, drawing her in despite its inherent risks, because the potential for reward is so great.


In 2007, Amy earned a B.A., magna cum laude, in art and English. After 26 years of living in eastern North Dakota, she was ready for change. She fumbled around a bit spending time as a member of a construction crew and building houses and pole barns along the North Dakota/Montana boarder. In 2009 she ventured to the east coast to attend graduate school at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, earning her M.F.A in ceramics in 2012.

Amy has traveled extensively to hone her talent. She was an International Student Resident at the International Ceramics Studio in Kecksemét, Hungary (Fall 2011), and an Artist-in-Residence at Guldagergaard International Ceramics Research Center in Skælskør, Denmark (Summer 2012).

Amy is currently the Artist-in-Residence and Education Coordinator at RDG Dahlquist Art Studio in Des Moines, Iowa. She has hosted 4 solo exhibitions and has been selected to participate in 18 group shows, 15 of them juried, at prestigious galleries in six states. Her works have been shown at galleries in New York City and Boston to exhibitions in Colorado, Nebraska and her home state of North Dakota.

She has received many grants and awards for her work, has been featured in ceramic related publications, and enjoys teaching her craft.

Amy’s chosen art form is as beautiful as it is fragile. Her advice is simple, straightforward and meaningful: “Don’t be afraid to take risks. Do things that scare you.” Amy’s risks, along with her persistence and skill have certainly made her a renowned porcelain artist.

For more of Amy’s work, please visit www.amyuthus.com.

If you’d like to send a note of congratulations to Amy, please email it to
Alia@ndsualumni.com and we’ll include it in her guestbook.

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