All of the tableware items made at Maine Prairie Studio are made of porcelain or local clays and food-safe glazes. They also make decorative items in a variety of styles, many of which are for sale. Staff photo by Jean Doran Matua.
By Jean Doran Matua, Editor
With their training and experience, JD Jorgenson and his fiancée Megan Mitchell could have settled anywhere. In 2016, they fell in love with a piece of land just north of Powder Ridge and soon established Maine Prairie Studio in the existing pole building on the lot. Then they built a home there. Just a year ago, they were insulating and sheetrocking, preparing to move into their dream home with Jorgenson’s two children.
Jorgenson is originally from North Dakota where he still finds native clays for his artwork. He studied architecture and anthropology at NDSU in Fargo, and got hooked on clay after taking a class. He transferred to the University of Iowa and studied studio ceramics and Japanese and Asian art. This led to being the Jerome Visiting Artist in 2002 at St. John’s University followed by a year-and-a-half apprenticeship with Richard Bresnahan at St. John’s Pottery. His work shows industrial influences, always pushing the edge for new looks and techniques. Jorgenson has found limited quantities of Kimball clay, and would love to find more to use in his works.
Mitchell is originally from New Hampshire. She earned a Bachelor’s degree from Carleton College here in Minnesota, and a Masters of Fine Art from Utah State University. She has apprenticed at various studios, and now teaches drawing, sculpture, and ceramics at St. Cloud Technical College as well as Minneapolis College. She combines many of these skills into her ceramic work.
The two met in Milwaukee, at the NCECA national clay conference. “We aligned, and the rest is history,” said Jorgenson. They plan to marry in June, at Grand Marais.
In 2004, Jorgenson set up a studio in his garage in Avon. Before coming to Kimball, they had a studio north of St. Joseph where Jorgenson ran a mentorship program. Then they found their dream spot in Kimball.
Jorgenson and Mitchell each have their own style and materials preference. What they have in common is that their work has an organic look and feel that makes you want to touch it, and use it.
Both teach at the Paramount Center in St. Cloud, and the Northern Clay Center in Minneapolis, in addition to classes at their Kimball studio. Their works are on display at UpState Minnesota gallery in Grand Marais, as well as other galleries around the country.
This past weekend, Maine Prairie Studio held an open house. Their grand opening was earlier this year. At both events, they cleared an area in their working studio to display their ceramics that are for sale. They hope to have a designated permanent display area by summer. In the meantime, if you’d like to purchase any of their works (perhaps as Christmas gifts), please call to make an appointment and they’d be happy to accommodate you.
Maine Prairie Studio will host wheel-throwing pottery classes for all abilities from 6-9 p.m. Tuesdays, Jan. 29 through March 5, and 6-9 p.m. Thursdays, Jan. 31 through March 7. The cost is only $150 which includes 18 hours of instruction, 25 pounds of clay, and all glazes and firing. They are also available for special birthday parties and group sessions. Find them online at maineprairiestudio.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (320) 309-1529.