Colleen Black Semelka is a Canadian-born artist who fell in love with clay soon after discovering the medium. Raised on the wide-open plains of Manitoba, she created her first ceramic piece on her family farm at age six. It was a mold of her horse’s hoof print.
Black Semelka received a bachelor's degree in nursing from the University of Manitoba. She was first introduced to raku by Shuji Ikeda in San Francisco during the late 1980s. Raku is a ceramic process that dates back to 17th-century Japan.
In 1990, Colleen studied hand-building in Germany and later perfected her wheel skills with Valerie Metcalfe in Winnipeg, Manitoba. She moved to North Carolina in 1993 and connected with art professor Nam Yun-Dong at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to challenge her sculptural abilities. The two most significant mentors in her life were the late Sally Bowen Prange and the late Paul Soldner, both highly influential ceramic artists.
Colleen Black Semelka stays connected to the larger art community by participating in art shows, leading workshops, and mentoring ceramic artists. North Carolina and its rich artistic community has been the vessel for her creativity for many years. She currently creates artwork in her rural Chatham County studio.