Artist and teacher, Irina Okula received her MFA in Ceramics from Southern Illinois University and has been fascinated with clay ever since. Okula makes her work on the wheel creating utilitarian objects for the home that are gas fired. She also creates unique sculptural forms that are elaborately finished bowls and pots based on a process used by the Indians of the southwest. After a number of painstaking steps, Okula fires her work in a closed clay container called a saggar, using combustible organic material such as salt marsh hay, which burn off but leave indelible colors and markings on her work. Each piece emerges as mysterious as a sunset, polished but without a touch of glaze.