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Guest Judges

2023 Guest Judges: Laura Ashley & Dyan Akkouche

Each year Clay It Up hosts two special guests to judge the live competition.  The role of the guest judge is to provide the construction prompts at the start of each competitive event and to award placements for the top submissions in the different categories.  In the past we have been grateful to partner with area ceramic artists, teachers and professors to judge our live competition.

We are pleased to announce that we will be hosting Dyan Akkouche and Laura Ashley as our guest judges for Clay It Up 2023!


Laura Ashley

Laura Ashley is an Assistant Professor of Art at College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, Missouri.  Laura began her education with her BFA at the University of Mississippi and continued her Arts education with her MFA from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University.  Laura's knowledge goes beyond Art as she also got her BSN from the University of Mississippi Medical Center as well as becoming an RN of Labor and Delivery from the Cox Medical Center.

Laura was an Artist in Resident The Clay Studio Philadelphia PA as well as the Executive Director -Gumtree Museum of Art, Tupelo MS.  While in Mississippi she was also an Instructor of Art at the University Of Mississippi.

Laura has Artwork in the following Permanent collections:

Schein-Joseph International museum of Ceramics Art

Pfannebecker Collection

Rosenthal Collection

Dyan Akkouche.jpg

Dyan Akkouche

Dyan Akkouche is an Assistant Professor of Art Education at Northwest Missouri State University. She holds an MFA in Sculpture from Southern Illinois University Carbondale, a BFA in Ceramics from Kansas State University, and an M.Ed. in Education from Texas State University.  Dyan currently teaches Art Education, Drawing, and Fibers at Northwest and maintains a studio practice in sculptural ceramics and fibers.  She has been teaching art for 20 years across studio disciplines.


Dyan’s work is part of the permanent collection at the Racine Art Museum in Racine, Wisconsin, and the Kansas Artist Collection in Wichita, Kansas.  She has exhibited extensively across the USA from Hawaii to Baltimore and many places in between.  Her work is playfully existential and inspired by nebula forms in deep space. She describes her ceramic sculptures as “phrenological maps of the universe that attempt to answer everything and nothing at the same time.”


Instagram: @ceramics_dyan

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