Anna Metcalfe

About the Artist

Instructor of Art and ceramics at Northland College, Anna Metcalfe is interested in the intersection of art with a concern for the environment, food cultures and systems, and strong, vibrant communities.  Metcalfe’s studio work intersects functional ceramic work, public art and installation.  Metcalfe earned her MFA from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis where she resides full time.

Anna Metcalfe

2813 29th Ave, S.

Minneapolis, MN  55406


About the Artwork

Storytelling has powerful resonance in many cultures.  It is used to teach morality, history and help people understand joy, grief, humor, and tragedy.  Stories build connections within diverse cultures and communities.  I create ceramic objects to tell stories about the earth we live on, the food we eat, and who we are.

“A Living Topography:  Stories from Lake Superior” is a steel, ceramic, and mixed media piece that represents Lake Superior and aspects of its watershed. The porcelain boat hulls that hang down from the steel frame carry glimpses of the lives of people who lived near the Lake:  letters written by a young woman from Ashland, WI in 1863, pages from a diary written by a Wisconsin teenager, and navigational charts of the Lake.  The frame is a topographic map of the Lake and the boats form the basin. Additionally, there are a series of boats that carry QR codes.  These codes lead viewers with smart phones to Geo Locations around the lake on Google Earth, as well as photographs, audio interviews and web links of interviews I did with people who live and work around the lake (hosted at

These interviews include Sharon Day, an Anishinabe woman who recounts her walking voyage from the Gulf of Mexico to the Bad River Reservation; Tom Fitz who speaks about the geology of the Penokee Hills, Eric Johnson, a fisherman in Port Wing, WI; and others who have lived lives filled with the waters of Lake Superior.


“A Living Topography: Stories from Lake Superior”
Anna Metcalfe
Medium: ceramic and steel


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