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Meet Our Staff

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Nancy Gottovi is the Executive Director of Central Park and STARworks. She earned her Ph.D. in cultural anthropology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and has been an adjunct Assistant Professor at NC State University and UNC Charlotte. Dr. Gottovi has served as editor for the national Rural Education Finance Center’s Rural School Funding Report, director of the Heritage and Cultural Tourism Partnership of NC and Project Director of the NC Pottery Center.  Nancy was a 1995 Fellow of the Rural Economic Development Leadership Institute and is currently a 2006-2008 William C. Friday Fellow for Human Relations. 

Claire Cadorette

Claire Cadorette is the Glass Education Coordinator at STARworks. Claire holds a BFA from Rhode Island School of Design, and has shown work at several galleries in Rhode Island as both a student and post collegiate. As a Chrysler Museum assistant she worked with the Old Dominion University and Virginia Wesleyan, which instilled a passion for education. In Virginia, through the Chrysler Museum and the Virginia Glass Guild, Cadorette has participated in several exhibitions. To find out more please visit


Allison Daniel

Allison Daniel is a STARworks Ceramics Clay Factory Assistant. She holds a BFA in Studio Art with a concentration in Sculpture and Ceramics from UNCG. Allison is an interdisciplinary artist focused on ceramics, glass and painting, and has shown her work in art spaces along the east coast. She was born and raised in the Piedmont of North Carolina and enjoys teaching pottery classes, eating fresh food, and being outside with her cat. 

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Joe Grant is the STARworks Glass Director. He has won many awards, including a residency at the Creative Glass Center of America and the NC Arts Council Fellowship. His work has been exhibted at the Carrack Modern Art, Turchin Center for the Visual Arts and the Green Hill Center in North Carolina, Gallery A in Richmond, Virginia, Gallery OneOne in Cincinnati, Ohio, Minnetrista in Muncie, Indiana, University Galleries in Bloomington, Illinois and Marx-Saunders Gallery in Chicago, Illinois. Joe earned a BFA from the University of Illinois and an MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University. For more information, visit



Mary Holmes is the Special Project Coordinator at Central Park NC and STARworks. She earned her master's degree in Project Management from Western Carolina University and her BS in Business from the University of Limerick.  Mary is co-owner of the Center for Awakened Health and chair of the Board of the Directors for the NC Pottery Center. 

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Bill Jones is a part-time production potter in the STARworks Clay Studio. He grew up in PA and studied architecture and design at Lehigh University and the University of Michigan. After beginning his ceramic studies at Penland School of Craft, Bill went on to do a two-year apprenticeship with potter and sculptor, Daniel Johnston, in Seagrove, NC. To learn more, visit

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Adam Landman is the STARworks Project Manager. Adam is a native of the state of Alabama. He earned a degree in Art from East Carolina University. Adam is an artist, a problem solver, and a former United States Marine. Before joining STARworks, Adam gained experience as a sous chef, a shoe salesman, and a manager at Kinkos. 



Fiva McCanless is the manager of the STARworks Café & Taproom. She holds an AA in liberal arts from Sandhills Community College and an AAS in Advertising and Graphic Design from Randolph Community College. She also studied anthropology at NC State University. When she's not working at STARworks, Fiva makes and hand decorates pottery for her business, Three Legged Cat and her family's business, Dover Pottery. For more information, visit

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Rhonda McCanless is the Communications Coordinator at Central Park NC and STARworks.  She has an AAS in Community Journalism from Central Carolina Community College. Before joining STARworks, Rhonda was the publisher of "In the Grove," a monthly newsletter that focused on the Seagrove pottery community. She likes to canoe, knit & crochet in her spare time.


 Zeke McCanless

Zeke McCanless is a bookkeeper for STARworks Ceramics. He holds a BA in Radio Television and Motion Pictures from UNC Chapel Hill. Zeke worked in ceramics off and on at Dover Pottery until its close in 2018, and has worked other jobs varying from dishwashing to computer programming. He enjoys dining with friends and taking long naps.

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Samantha Parker is the Administrative Assistant at STARworks. She holds an AA in Business Administration from Montgomery Community College. She came to STARworks through a high school glassblowing class and returned as a glass apprentice. She has also worked at Pilchuck Glass School through their Summer Staff Program. She is interested in expanding her knowledge of glassblowing, flameworking and entrepreneurship.

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Jackie Polofka

Jackie Polofka is a STARworks Glass production glassblower. She was born and raised in northwest Ohio and holds a BFA in three-dimensional studies from Bowling Green State University. Before joining the STARworks team, Jackie worked at the Corning Museum of Glass in Corning, NY and the Chrysler Museum of Art Glass Studio in Norfolk, VA. She has shown her work in multiple exhibitions, most notably in the Momentum Juried Exhibition in Toledo, OH in 2017 and was awarded third place in the Glass Arts Society International Student Online Exhibition in 2016. 



Takuro Shibata is the Director of STARworks Ceramics. Takuro is a native of Japan, where he earned a Bachelor of Engineering in Applied Chemistry from Doshisha University in Kyoto. He has decades of experience in ceramics research, ceramics materials and studio facilities. Takuro has conducted numerous lectures and workshops on various ceramics topics and techniques. He has been a ceramics technical instructor at the Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park in Shigaraki, Japan, and a resident artist at the Peters Valley Crafts Education Center in Layton, NJ and the Cub Creek Foundation in Appomattox, VA. He and his wife own and operate Studio Touya in Seagrove, NC.

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Beth Throneburg is the Office Manager at Central Park NC and STARworks.  She earned a BA in Historic Preservation at Roger Williams University.  She is also certified in accounting.  Before joinng CPNC, Beth worked as a preservation planner, main street director and GED instructor.  She likes to camp and create stamped greeting cards in her spare time.

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Adam Wiley is a Customer Service Representative for the STARworks Ceramics Supply Shop. He holds an AA in Ceramics/Fine Art from Hillsborough Community College & attended Kent State University for Ceramics. His personal artistic work is inspired by an early fascination with deconstructing objects and has grown into a passion for assembling art from mixed materials. In his spare time, Adam likes to build water gardens. For more information about Adam's work, visit

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Sydney Williams

Sydney Williams is a STARworks Ceramics Clay Factory Assistant. A native of the Uwharrie Mountain region, Sydney earned her AA in production pottery at Montgomery Community College and her BFA in ceramic sculpture at UNC Charlotte. Sydney blends her backgrounds in craft and fine art with nature, creating large scale biomorphic sculptures that draw links between the human body and the wilderness. She likes to hike, kayak, and hug dogs in her spare time. 

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Thoryn Ziemba is the STARworks Glass Production Manager. He is a Windgate Fellowship Award recipient and received a Niche Student Award for sculptural glass. His work has been shown throughout the United States. Before coming to STARworks, Thoryn worked for the Pretentious Beer Glass Company in Knoxville, TN. He holds a BFA in Glass from Appalachian Center for Craft/Tennessee Technical University. For more information, visit