2017 Annual Resident Merit Awards Announced

The Steel Yard is proud to announce that Danika Notar and Vicki Milne are the recipients of the First Annual Resident Merit Awards in recognition of their artistic excellence and commitment to the creative community. Danika Notar has been awarded the 2017 Merit Award of $500 and Vicki Milne has been awarded the 2017 Merit Award of $250.

"It is truly phenomenal what these two artists accomplished during their time at the Steel Yard. I hope these awards will enable them to grow their creative practices and continue to invest in their work." Said Islay Taylor, Associate Director of the Steel Yard. "The Merit Awards were made possible by an incredibly generous donor and exemplifies the powerful impact philanthropy can have on can have on artists and maker's seeking creative spaces."

The Steel Yard hosts Residency opportunities in Ceramics, Light Metals (Jewelry and metal forming), and Metals (Foundry, Blacksmithing, and Welding) that runs run from April 1st – December 1st. The Merit Awards were gifted between the time of residency period and is intended to stimulate and support a creative process outside of the Steel Yard's shared studio space. In 2017, The Steel Yard hosted twelve artists in the Residency Program all of whom were encouraged to submit their applications for the Merit Awards. Applicants submitted images of the work created during their time at the Steel Yard that were then juried by a panel.

"Our 2017 Residents were truly a superlative cohort of artists and makers. Everyone who applied for the Merit Award had a strong application; we're proud of the work that every resident was able to accomplish this year. Thank you. Danika and Vicki were selected for their outstanding craftsmanship as well as going above and as stewards in their community. They both very much embody the spirit the shared studio space and mission of the Steel Yard." Said Taylor.

Danika Notar, Ceramics
2017 Merit Award Recipient



Danika was exceptionally motivated in her time at the studio. It was not uncommon for her to be working diligently in the ceramics studio first thing in the morning and be one of the last people to leave in the evening. She was often times experimenting with materials, glazes, deconstructing and reconstructing wheel forms, and experimenting with hollow constructions. It was evident to staff, and studio mates, that she derived a great deal of inspiration from the Steel Yard's historic industrial building and campus. Her work incorporated crackle glazes as well premade elements like springs, zippers, and padlocks.

"I aspire to stretch the conventional boundaries of the functional pot in order to create my own forms that have a dynamic composition and flow of energy. I sketch a lot of ideas on paper. Then I start with wheel thrown basic forms like bowls and mugs and then begin to alter them by darting and rasping the soft leather hard forms. " Said Danika Notar.

In addition to focusing on her own work, Danika was truly a boon to the community - she was constantly sharing her knowledge and was eager to engage with participants on public tours. Notar increased the Steel Yard's glaze catalog three-fold and made numerous improvements to the overall health of the department.

Vicki Milne, Metals
2017 Merit Award Recipient


Vicki was another artist who truly utilized the Steel Yard's studio space to its full potential, spending hours and hours in the shop often late in the evenings and early mornings. Milne was part of the Steel Yard's three-month Micro Residency program that was project specific. This was her second year in Residence at the Yard. Milne has an incredibly reflective and introspective art practice and committed herself 100% to the projects she was working on. She explored, grew immensely, was willing to challenge herself and wasn't afraid to ask for help.

"Sculpture is, for me, poetry made visible. I enjoy the process of writing but sculpting allows me to express something complex and deeply personal succinctly and directly. Sculpture can convey an idea or emotion with more immediacy than words while allowing for a very broad range of interpretation." Said Vicki.

Milne's metal work is figurative and is also aesthetically very clean. Her sculptures incorporated mild steel, rolling and forming techniques, and hollow construction (which is an incredibly challenging process). She experimented with patinas and other surface finishes. The energy she puts into her pieces transformed them, bringing the metal to life.