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Artists

For part one of this digital exhibition, 20 videos have been produced documenting the exhibited works (see below). Additional videos will be released soon. Stay tuned for more ceramic art!

David Armstrong

David Armstrong (b. 1940) is a Pomona entrepreneur and ceramics enthusiast. His family moved to Pomona, California in 1944 and opened a furniture and appliance business. Armstrong attended Pomona College to study zoology and while in college, he discovered a love for ceramics when he took a class with Paul Soldner. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1962. 

Armstrong closed the family furniture business in 1969 to open Armstrong’s Gallery. The gallery featured limited-edition ceramic collectibles specializing in porcelain figurines and collector plates from around the world. 

He went back to college and earned a Master of Fine Arts in ceramics in 1993 from the Claremont Graduate School. He was one of Soldner’s last graduate students. From 2000-14, the Armstrong’s Gallery specialized in studio ceramics. He closed the gallery in 2014 to focus on the American Museum of Ceramic Art.

Untitled, 1990. Glazed ceramic.

Victor Babu

Victor Babu (1936-2019) is known for his large wheel-thrown porcelain platters and containers. He treated the surface as a canvas for painting abstract and stylized forms. Imagery of flora and fauna defined his later work. 

Babu earned both his Bachelor of Fine Arts and Master of Fine Arts degrees from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University. Babu’s professor and mentor, Ted Randall (also featured in this exhibition), was particularly significant in nurturing his interest in pursuing a teaching career. Babu was instrumental in developing the Kansas City Art Institute’s Ceramics Department into one of the top undergraduate ceramics programs in the U.S. during the latter half of the 20th Century.

Lidded Vessel, 2005. Porcelain and glazes.

Ralph Bacerra

Ralph Bacerra (1938-2008) was a ceramic artist and educator from Garden Grove, California. Bacerra’s work is recognized for its vivid use of contrasting colors achieved through multiple firings. Bacerra was influenced by Japanese Imari and Kutani pieces, Persian miniatures, and Chinese Tang ceramics. His later work utilized a refined approach to decoration, reminiscent of quilting patterns.

In 1961, Bacerra was a student at Chouinard Art Institute (CA) where he studied under the celebrated ceramist and educator, Vivika Heino. Bacerra served as the Chair of the ceramics department at Chouinard from 1963-71 and from 1983-97 he was the Chair of the ceramics department at Otis Art Institute (CA).

Untitled Platter, 2007. Earthenware with underglaze, glaze and overglaze painting.

Bennett Bean

Bennett Bean (b. 1941) is a multidisciplinary artist working in clay, stone, precious metals, weaving, paper, and painting. He is best known for his complex pit-fired ceramic works decorated with post-firing surface treatments using paint and gold leaf. His influences include Japanese, Native American, and modern American pottery.  He is also inspired by English pottery in the tradition of Bernard Leach.

Bean received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Iowa State University and a Master of Fine Arts degree from Claremont Graduate University where he studied with Paul Soldner. Bean is represented in major museum collections nationwide including the Whitney Museum of American Art (NY), The Smithsonian Institution (DC), and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (CA).

Triple Vessel, c. 2010. Earthenware. Gift of Julianne and David Armstrong.

Joe Bova

Joe Bova (b. 1941) originally used animal imagery to investigate the morbid realities of hunting and fishing. In later works, animals acted as symbols, surrogates, and totems exploring social and political commentary, eroticism, and humorous narratives.

Bova earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Houston (TX) and a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of New Mexico. He was a Professor at Louisiana State University in the 1970’s and 1980’s, as well as at Ohio University from 1990-07. Bova’s work is in numerous collections including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (CA), the Mint Museum (NC), and the Crocker Museum (CA).

Cat, c. 1980. Terracotta.

Frank Boyden and Tom Coleman

Frank Boyden (b. 1942) is known for his work in printmaking and ceramic and bronze sculptures. Boyden lives on the Oregon coast, where he founded Sitka Center for Art & Ecology (OR). His work is inspired by the environment and surrounding nature of the Salmon River. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Colorado College (CO) in 1965 and a Master of Fine Arts degree in painting from Yale University (CT) in 1968. 

Tom Coleman (b. 1945) is a Texas native who focuses on beauty, symmetry, and balance of form. Coleman is known for his skilled throwing abilities and glaze formulations. He graduated with a Fine Arts degree from Pacific Northwest College of Art (OR) in 1968. His work is in the collections of the Smithsonian Institute (DC) and the Portland Museum of Art (OR). 

Featured here is a wonderful example of one of Tom Coleman and Frank Boyden’s many collaborative pieces.

Vessel #27, 2006. Ceramic.

Rose Cabat

Rose Cabat (1914-2015) began working in ceramics in 1940 after her husband brought clay home from his job as an assistant to Vally Wiselthier, an art deco ceramicist who was making work for General Ceramics in New Jersey. In the late 1950’s, while her husband was at a convention in Hawaii, Cabat enrolled in a glaze calculation class at the University of Hawaii. Later in her career, these glazes would define her work and be regarded as both contemplatively beautiful and quietly profound. 

In the 1960’s she began to make her iconic Feelies and receive the recognition she deserved. In 1966, her work was included in Craftsmen USA, an exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum (CA) and in 1973, her feelies were exhibited at the Smithsonian Institute (DC). In the late 1970’s the Tucson Art Museum (AZ)  loaned one of Cabat’s Feelies to the Mansion of the Vice President, Walter Mondale, to be displayed in the living room along with other works of art. Cabat worked steadily through her 90’s up until she passed away at the age of 100.  

Feelies, c. 1970. Glazed ceramic.

Peter Callas

Peter Callas (b. 1951) is an artist specializing in the Japanese tradition of anagama wood firing. He broadened the understanding in the United States of elongated firing periods in an anagama kiln in order to achieve more complex surfaces. Callas met Peter Voulkos (also featured in this exhibition) and convinced him to incorporate wood firing as part of his process. During their relationship, and up until Volkous’ passing, they collaborated on a number of works. 

Callas lives and works in New Jersey where he continues to work with ashen glazed surfaces as a means to communicate the luscious effects of nature and fire. Callas’s work can be found in museums around the world including the American Museum of Ceramic Art (CA), International Ceramic Museum (Hungary), and The Museum of Contemporary Ceramic Art (Japan).

Cardinal, 1991. Stoneware.

Philip Cornelius

Philip Cornelius (1934-2015) was a ceramic artist born in San Bernardino, California. He is best known for his slab-built, paper-thin porcelain works he referred to as Thinware that tested the limits of clay.

Cornelius studied at California State University, San Jose receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1960. He earned a Master of Fine Arts degree from the Claremont Graduate School (CA) where he studied with Paul Soldner. Cornelius taught at Pasadena City College (CA) from 1965-2015. He developed a strong ceramics program that made Pasadena City College a beacon for young ceramicists. 

“Maybe someone who teaches at a major university or a prestigious art school has more professional clout than I do. But I’m not into professional clout, I’m into art clout. I don’t take my power from teaching, I take my power from what I do with clay.” – Cornelius

A-Line, 1985. Charcoal-fired porcelain.

Betty Davenport Ford

Betty Davenport Ford (b. 1924) is a prolific sculptor, teacher, and author born in Upland, California. Early in her career she developed a fascination for animal forms and the ability to capture not only the likeness of her animal subjects, but their essence as well. 

Ford received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Scripps College (CA) in 1946 and a Master of Fine Arts degree from Cranbrook Academy of Art (MI) in 1950. She taught throughout Southern California and created numerous public works of art including the large tiger at Chaffey High School in Ontario (CA) and several fountains for the Pomona Mall (CA).

Untitled, 1961. Stoneware.

Richard DeVore

Richard DeVore (1933-2006) was from Toledo, Ohio and best known for his simple, organically inspired vessels. DeVore’s fluid, undulating forms suggest an erotic tension between what is seen and what is suggested. His work references the human body, emphasizing the irregularity and spontaneity.

DeVore earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1955 from the University of Toledo (OH) and in 1957 he received a Master of Fine Arts degree from Cranbrook Academy of Art (MI), where he studied ceramics with Finnish-American ceramic artist, Maija Grotell. From 1966-78, DeVore served as an Artist-in-Residence at Cranbrook.

Untitled, 1980. Multi-glazed stoneware.

Josh DeWeese

Josh DeWeese (b. 1963) is a ceramic artist and educator from Bozeman, Montana. His work is a combination of wheel thrown and altered forms that highlight the plastic qualities of clay. From smaller functional forms to large storage jars and baskets, DeWeese primarily fires his work in a wood kiln and at times uses salt, soda, and local clays to enhance the finished surfaces.

DeWeese studied ceramics at Montana State University and then Kansas City Art Institute (MO) with Ken Feguson, Victor Babu (also featured in this exhibition) and Clary Illian earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1985. He received a Master of Fine Arts degree in 1991 from Alfred University (NY) where he studied with Val Cushing, Wayne Higby, and Jeff Oestreich. Since 2008 he has served as the Associate Professor of Art at Montana State University. 

Untitled Vessel, c. 2000. Stoneware and glazes.

David Furman

David Furman (b. 1945) is best known for his ceramics in the trompe l’oeil style (French for “deceive the eye”). His works convey his ideas, experiences, and perceptions using irony, empathy, and humor.

Furman received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Oregon and a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Washington. He has received three National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, and three Fulbright fellowships. From 1973-2007, Furman was a professor in the studio arts program at Pitzer College in Claremont (CA). 

Spudnutz Goes Vegetarian, 2000. Ceramic.

Andrea Gill

Andrea Gill (b. 1948), originally trained as a painter, uses elaborate motifs and decoration on distorted vessel forms. Gill adopts ideas, traditions, and styles of historical pottery, then turns them deftly around to question the very essence of the form.

Gill received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Rhode Island School of Design. She earned a Master of Fine Arts degree from the New York College of Ceramics at Alfred University in 1976. Since 1984, she has served as a Professor of Ceramics at Alfred. Gill has won fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts, and the Ohio Arts Council. Her works are in the collections of the Los Angeles County Museum (CA), The Victoria and Albert Museum (United Kingdom), and the Rhode Island School of Design Museum.

Untitled, 1982-84. Terracotta.

Thomas Hoadley

Thomas Hoadley (b. 1949) is from Massachusetts and combines pattern and color to explore how a collection of abstract elements interact together. Hoadley’s work is based on a Japanese technique called Nerikomi. This technique uses slabs of stained or colored clay which are assembled into a large loaf. The loaf is cut into slices to reveal the marbled clay patterned which are used to form his elegant vessels.

Hoadley’s work is included in the collections of many public museums including the Smithsonian Institute (DC), Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MA), and the Museum of Fine Arts, Philadelphia (PA). He is the recipient of a Massachusetts Artists Fellowship and two National Endowment for the Arts grants.

TH651, 2004. Colored porcelain.

Sylvia Hyman

Sylvia Hyman (1917-2012) was a ceramic artist and professor from Buffalo, New York. She was known for her deceptively realistic stoneware and porcelain sculptures, a technique referred to as trompe l’oeil. Hyman was interested in everyday objects that convey information, such as newspapers, maps, and books. She believed these works created a time capsule of the present that would live on forever.

Hyman received a Bachelor of Arts degree in art education in 1938 from the New York State Teachers College at Buffalo and a Master of Fine Arts degree in art education in 1963 from Peabody College for Teachers (TN). Her work is included in the Smithsonian Institute (DC), the Museum of Decorative Arts (Prague), Saga Prefectural Museum (Japan), and the Tennessee State Museum.

Buzzards Bay, 2005. Porcelain, stoneware, glazes and decals.

Yoshiro Ikeda

Yoshiro Ikeda (1947-2014) was a first generation Japanese American ceramic artist. Yoshiro’s inspiration came from nature and his traditional Japanese education. Ikeda achieved complex surfaces on his work by performing multiple firings between glaze applications.

Ikeda began his studies in architecture at Portland State University (OR) before transitioning to the ceramics department to earn his Bachelor’s degree. He earned a Master of Fine Arts degree at the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1977. He was head of the ceramics department at Kansas State University from 1978-2012.

Untitled Teapot, c. 2000s. Stoneware and glazes.

Karen Karnes

Karen Karnes (1925-2016) was a ceramicist from New York known for her functional wheel-thrown pottery. Throughout her career, Karnes focused on surface design, sculptural vessels and experimented with different wood firing techniques. Karnes was influenced in many ways by her parents’ communist philosophies, as she professed respect for working in small communities.

Karnes graduated from Brooklyn College (NY) in 1946 and began studying for her graduate degree at Alfred University (NY). She left Alfred before completing her degree to serve as the potter-in-residence at the experimental Black Mountain College (NC) from 1952-54. Black Mountain College was owned and operated by the faculty and was committed to democratic governance and to the idea that the arts are central to the experience of learning. She was an integral part of the Stony Point (NY) artist community, where she lived and worked for 25 years before moving her studio to Vermont in 1979 until her passing in 2016.

Untitled Pitcher, c. 1960s. Stoneware.

Margaret Keelan

Margaret Keelan (b. 1946) is a Canadian sculptor, known for her use of trompe l’oeil surfaces reminiscent of disintegrating paint and weathered wood. This effect is achieved by applying numerous layers of stains and glazes between multiple firings. Her work confronts issues of mortality, beauty, aging and innocence while reflecting on the complexities of childhood and life.

Keelan received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Saskatchewan (Canada), and a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Utah where she studied with Marilyn Levine (known for her trompe l’oeil leather surfaces). Keelan is the Associate Director of Sculpture and teaches at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco (CA). 

Girl with Goose, 2007. Clay, stains.

Gina Lawson-Egan

Gina Lawson-Egan (b. 1962) is a Southern Californian ceramic artist known for her sculptural works concentrating on female and animal forms. Lawson-Egan explores themes surrounding mythical and biblical stories, women’s experiences, ideas of duality, and light-hearted humor.

Lawson-Egan received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Michigan in 1985. She earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in 1988 from the Claremont Graduate University (CA) where she studied with Paul Soldner. Lawson-Egan has shown her work extensively in the United States and since 2006, has been a ceramics professor at CalPoly Pomona University (CA). 

Krazy Wabbit, 2013. Stoneware, underglaze, stain and glazes.

Jim Leedy

Jim Leedy (b. 1930) is a pioneer of postwar American art. Leedy’s work constantly crosses the boundaries of materials, genres and subject matter. He began working with abstract expressionist artists on the East Coast and then later with contemporary ceramic artists in the West, including Peter Voulkos (also featured in this exhibition) and Rudy Autio.

Leedy is a gifted teacher who served on the faculty of the Kansas City Art Institute (MO) for over 40 years until his retirement in 2008. His work is in the collections of the Museum of Craft and Design (NY), Everson Museum, (NY), John Michael Kohler Art Center (WI), Los Angeles County Museum of Art (CA), and the Mint Museum (NC).

Untitled #15, 1998. Salt-fired stoneware and resin glaze.

Warren MacKenzie

Warren MacKenzie (1924-2018) was a prolific functional potter and educator from Wilmette, Illinois. His simple, wheel-thrown pottery was influenced by the aesthetic of artist Shoji Hamada and Korean ceramics. MacKenzie is credited with fostering the Japanese Mingei style of folk art pottery in Minnesota. His work exemplifies the mingei notion that beauty springs from utility, and he insisted that his work was made to be used.

MacKenzie began working with clay as an undergraduate student at the Art Institute of Chicago. Unsatisfied with the teaching provided by their instructor, MacKenzie and his classmates independently followed the lessons of famed British studio potter Bernard Leach after discovering his publication A Potter’s Book. From 1949-52, he studied with Bernard Leach in England. From 1953-90 he taught at the University of Minnesota.

Untitled Platter, c. 1990. Stoneware.

Ricky Maldonado

Ricky Maldonado (b. 1953) is a ceramic artist from Los Angeles, California known for his sculptures decorated with thousands of hand-painted dots of glaze. Maldonado worked a myriad of jobs that eventually led him to take his first ceramics class at Burbank Creative Arts Center (CA) in 1991. 

In 1993, he began studying ceramics at Otis College of Art and Design (CA) with Porntip Sangvanich and Ralph Bacerra (both featured in this exhibition). Like Bacerra, Maldonado paid no attention to the ‘less-is-more’ theory and valued the labor intensive craftsmanship.

Vertigo IV, 2008. Terracotta and glazes.

Janis Mars Wunderlich

Janis Mars Wunderlich (b. 1970) is a sculptor originally from Ohio. Her works explore the intimate physical, emotional, and spiritual connections developed throughout life. She is interested in the history of symbolism and imagery depicting, femininity, masculinity, sexuality, and nurturing.

Mars Wunderlich is a professor in ceramics at Monmouth College (IL). She has been the recipient of multiple grants from the Virginia Groot Foundation and the Ohio Arts Council. Her work is in the New Taipei Yingge Ceramics Museum (Taiwan), The City of Dresden, Grafikwerkstatt, Dresden (Germany), The Mint Museum (NC), Racine Art Museum (WI), Arizona State University Art Museum (AZ), and the Fuller Craft Museum (MA).

Family War Zone, 2005. Multi-fired, hand-built earthenware, slips, underglaze, glaze.

John Mason

John Mason (1927-2019) was one of the most important figures in contemporary American sculpture. Mason explored the physical properties of clay by experimenting with its plasticity, pushing the technical limits, and developing innovative firing techniques. 

He enrolled in 1954 at the Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles (now CalArts) at the same time that Peter Voulkos was hired to head the ceramics department. In 1957, Mason and Voulkos established a studio in Los Angeles with one of the country’s largest gas kilns.

His work is represented in museum collections around the world including the Metropolitan Museum of Art (NY), Whitney Museum of American Art (NY), Los Angeles County Museum of Art (CA), Carnegie Museum of Art (PA), Chicago Art Institute (IL), Everson Museum of Art (NY), Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MA), The National Museum of Modern Art (Japan), Smithsonian Institute (DC), The Museum of Contemporary Ceramic Art (Japan), and the World Ceramic Center (Korea).

Untitled, 1969. Ceramic.

Harrison McIntosh

Harrison McIntosh (1914-2016) was born in Vallejo, California. He quickly became one of the most respected functional potters in the United States and is known for his elegant and modern forms. He adorned his work with geometric designs reflecting his influences from Bauhaus design and Swedish ceramics of the 1950’s. 

McIntosh was first introduced to clay in 1940 while taking night classes at the University of Southern California (USC) with ceramics professor Glen Lukens. During his time at USC he became life-long friends with Otto and Gertrud Natzler. In 1948, McIntosh used the GI Bill to study ceramics at Scripps College (CA) under the direction of Millard Sheets. During his time at the Claremont Colleges, McIntosh met ceramicist Rupert Deese. They worked together as business partners and friends for the next 50 years in the Claremont area.

Yin and Yang, 1991. Stoneware and black walnut (base by Sam Maloof).

Jens Morrison

Jens Morrison (b. 1939), from Southern California has a deep fascination of cultural anthropology and the folk culture of Mexico. This work from the  series Casas Colores was inspired by rural Mexican farm architecture he found while exploring the Mexican countryside and little villages throughout Baja California (Mexico). 

In 1970, Morrison earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from San Diego State University (CA) and in 1972 he attended Mills College in Oakland (CA) to earn a Master of Fine Arts degree. He went on to become an art instructor at Palomar College (CA) in the 1980’s.

Casas Colores, 1982. Earthenware, stains and glazes.

Greg Payce

Greg Payce (b. 1956) is a ceramic artist working in Alberta (Canada). His work is inspired by Ancient Minoan pottery, early Renaissance apothecary jars, and groupings of highly decorated vases. 

Payce earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Alberta (Canada) in 1977, and a Master of Fine Arts degree at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in Halifax (Canada) in 1987. Since 1988, he has been teaching at the Alberta College of Art and Design in Calgary (Canada). His work is in the Art Gallery of Alberta (Canada), the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia (Canada), Gardiner Museum (Canada), Glenbow Museum (Canada), and the Royal Ontario Museum (Canada).

Untitled Vase, 1994. Earthenware.

Peter Pincus

Peter Pincus (b. 1982) is from Rochester, New York. He uses colored porcelain slip (liquid clay) in an elaborate mold-making and casting process. Pincus makes a form on the wheel, produces a plaster mold of the form, dissects the mold into pieces, paints the interior pieces of the mold with colored porcelain slips, and fills the mold with white slip to create the final sculpture. Pincus believes the interaction of color can elicit new ways of seeing by introducing a diverse color field to an equally interesting form.

Pincus received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 2005 and a Master of Fine Arts degree in 2012 from Alfred University (NY). Peter is an Assistant Professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology (NY).

Quatrefoil Columns, 2018. Colored porcelain and gold luster.

Ted Randall

Ted Randall (1914-1985) was an artist, educator, inventor, and arts community organizer working in Alfred, New York. Randall’s work exemplifies a harmonious balance between functional and sculptural pottery. Randall’s later works, Skulpots, consist of functional forms that are sculptural in spirit, adorned with graceful lines and rich glazes.

Randall earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Yale University (CT) in 1938, and a Master of Fine Arts degree from Alfred University (NY) in 1949. He was a professor at Alfred University from 1951-81. Under his guidance, the ceramics department at Alfred University became a renowned school of art and design. During a subcommittee meeting with The American Ceramic Society in the early 1960’s, Randall introduced a notion to “set up a forum for the immediate face to face exchange of thoughts and feelings about ceramic teaching and making”. This idea evolved into the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA).

Lidded Pot, c. 1980s. Stoneware.

Don Reitz

Don Reitz (1929-2014) was a virtuosic ceramic artist from New Jersey. He embraced the historic technique of salt-glaze pottery during his studies at Alfred University (NY). In 1982 Reitz was in a near fatal accident and while recuperating, his 5-year old niece Sara sent him drawings to make him feel better. Her drawings inspired the Sara Series which refocused his work for years to come. 

Reitz attended Alfred University (NY) and earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in 1962. He went on to teach the University of Wisconsin–Madison for more than 25 years before retiring as a Professor Emeritus in 1988. Upon retiring, Reitz moved to Clarkdale, Arizona where he built a wood kiln and established the Reitz Ranch. 

Walking the Edges, 1986-87. Gas-fired earthenware with engobes.

Porntip Sangvanich

Porntip Sangvanich (b.1949) is a ceramic artist born and raised in Thailand. Her work is celebrated for its seductive use of geometric shapes and patterns focusing on the simplicity of curved and straight lines. Sangvanich believes the pursuit of impeccable craftsmanship lends integrity and honesty to her work, and by not compromising she is able to find new forms and techniques in her slab-building processes.

Sangvanich received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in product design from Silpakorn University in Bangkok (Thailand) in the late 1970’s. She moved to Los Angeles in 1982 to attend the Otis College of Art and Design (CA), earning a Master of Fine Arts degree in 1987. Sangvanich taught on the faculty of Otis until 1996 alongside artist Ralph Bacerra and student Ricky Maldonado (both featured in this exhibition).

Teapot – Red and Black, 2004. Glazed porcelain.

Mary Scheier and Edwin Scheier

Mary Scheier (1908-2007) and Edwin Scheier (1910-2008) were self-taught ceramicists and artistic partners, regarded for their large vessel forms with incised decoration. Mary was known for her wheel-thrown vessels and Edwin was fond of applying designs to the pots and creating glazes. From 1940-68, Edwin taught at the University of New Hampshire and Mary was the Artist-In-Residence.

The couple was inspired by ancient Mexican icons and the designs found in tapestries made by local Oaxaca (Mexico) weavers. They eventually retired to Oaxaca where they continued studying the arts and crafts of Zapotec people.

Untitled Vessel, 1991. Glazed earthenware.

Viktor Schreckengost

Viktor Schreckengost (1906-2008) was an American industrial designer, teacher, sculptor, and artist. He was born and raised in Sebring, Ohio where his father worked at a ceramics factory and brought home material for his children to model. 

This piece from the Centennial Jazz Series was originally designed for Eleanor Roosevelt in 1931, during his association with Cowan Pottery. According to Schreckengost, Mrs. Roosevelt was so impressed that she quickly ordered 2 more, one for Hyde Park and one for the White House. The large bowl was then put into production by the Cowan Pottery, where at least 11 unique designs were executed.

Schreckengost graduated in 1929 from the Cleveland Institute of Art (OH) with a degree in design and ceramics. He taught industrial design at the Cleveland Institute of Art for more than 50 years.

Jazz Bowl, 2006. Glazed earthenware.

Richard Shaw

Richard Shaw (b.1941) is a ceramic artist and professor known for his humorous trompe l’oeil porcelain sculptures. Shaw replicates everyday objects in clay, decorated with decals and intricate glaze work. He is interested in how objects reflect a person or identity, while posing questions regarding the relationship between appearances and reality.

Shaw earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from San Francisco Art Institute (CA) in 1965, followed by a semester at the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University (NY). He taught at the San Francisco Art Institute from 1966-87. While teaching at the institute, he also attended the University of California, Davis, earning a Master of Fine Arts degree in 1968. Shaw was a professor at the University of California, Berkeley from 1987-2012.

Untitled Platter, 2002. Ceramic.

Robert Sperry

Robert Sperry (1927-1998) was a prolific ceramic artist who embraced painting, printmaking, sculpture, photography, digital-prints, and filmmaking. Sperry’s ceramic work reflects his influence from both abstract expressionism and Asian art. He is known primarily for his use of black and white crawl glazes on stoneware vessels, platters and sculptural installations.

Sperry earned a Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Saskatchewan (Canada) in 1950, a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (IL) in 1953, and a Master of Fine Arts degree at the University of Washington in 1955. Early in his ceramic career, Sperry worked with Peter Voulkos (also featured in this exhibition) and Rudy Autio at the Archie Bray Foundation (MT). Sperry became head of the ceramics program at the University of Washington from 1955-82. He laid the groundwork for what would become the most influential ceramics department in the nation, bringing in Howard Kottler, Fred Bauer and Patti Warashina (also featured in this exhibition).

#830, #833, #745 (right to left), 1987-88. Stoneware, glaze and slip.

Victor Spinski

Victor Spinski (1940-2013) was a Polish American ceramicist known for his trompe l’oeil clay sculptures, which incorporated humor and, occasionally, a jestering live performance. His work focused on sculptural still life compositions of common everyday objects. Working in the trompe l’oeil style he developed various clay bodies, glazes, decals and novel slip-casting techniques.  

Spinski escaped the Nazi occupation of Poland with his parents and spent much of his childhood in refugee camps and military bases as his father worked for the Allies and underground resistance. After moving to the United States, he received a bachelor’s degree in Russian literature, then served in Vietnam, where he was severely injured. After receiving extensive rehabilitation, Spinski attended the Kansas State Teachers College where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Engineering degree in 1963. He earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in ceramics, minoring in jewelry and photography from Indiana University in 1967. Spinski was a professor at the University of Delaware from 1967-2006. 

Box of Nails, c. 2000. Ceramic lusters, and decals.

Toshiko Takaezu

Toshiko Takaezu (1922-2011) was a ceramic artist and painter from Pepeekeo, Hawaii. Takaezu was known for her wheel-thrown closed form
Moonpots adorned with poured and painted glazes. Takaezu used intuition and simple gestures based on her studies in Zen Buddhism and traditional Japanese pottery. She frequently added a bead of clay inside her sculptures before closing the form, creating a rattle when shaken. 

Takaezu was first introduced to ceramics during a Saturday class at the Honolulu Museum of Art School (HI). From 1951-54, she continued her studies at Cranbrook Academy of Art (MI) where she studied under Finnish ceramist Maija Grotell. Takaezu served as head of the ceramics at the Cleveland Institute of Art (OH) until 1964 and taught ceramics at Princeton University (NJ) from 1967-92.

Moonpot, c. 1980. Glazed porcelain.

Glenn Takai

Glenn Takai (1947-2018) was a third-generation Japanese American artist from Sacramento, California. Takai’s work evolved from the Funk Art Movement which focused on figurative work instead of the imagery used during the Abstract Expressionist Movement. Takai found inspiration from his Japanese American culture and family relationships.

Takai received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from California State University, Sacramento and a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of California, Davis. His work is in the collections of the American Museum of Ceramic Art (CA), Oakland Museum (CA), and the Crocker Art Museum (CA).

Catch Me If You Can, 2000. Ceramic.

Al Tennant

Al Tennant (b. 1939) is an accomplished wood fire artist living on Whidbey Island, Washington. His work is colored by the natural ash that falls on the clay during the wood firing process, giving the work a complex palette of earth tones.

Tennant received his Bachelor and Master of Fine Arts degrees from Montana State University. He was a professor of art in ceramics at the University of Alaska from 1975-90. In 2006, Frank Boyden and Tom Coleman (also featured in this exhibition) began traveling to Whidbey Island to fire their collaborative vessels in Tennant’s train kiln.

Untitled Platter, c. 2000. Wood-fired stoneware.

Rimas VisGirda

Rimas VisGirda (b. 1942) was born in Lithuania and moved to the United States as a child. His work is influenced by California underground cartoonists, such as Robert Crumb and S. Clay Wilson, and the British punk movement. VisGirda’s work is shaped by the urban environment, media, and fashion depicting socio-critical caricatures. 

VisGirda received a Bachelor of Arts degree in physics before changing course to earn a Master of Fine Arts degree from Washington State University in 1973. He has taught at various institutions in the United States including Illinois Wesleyan University from 1987-97 and Scripps College in Claremont (CA) in the late 1980’s.

Untitled Teapot, 1987-88. Ceramic with engobes and lusters.

Peter Voulkos

Peter Voulkos (1924-2002) was one of the most significant sculptors of the 20th century and often referred to as the Father of Contemporary American Ceramics. When he returned from serving in World War II, Voulkos used the G.I. Bill to attend Montana State University to study painting and printmaking before discovering the ceramics department led by Frances Senska. 

Early on, Voulkos was recognized as a natural potter who produced elegantly thrown functional ceramics. His work dramatically changed when he taught at Black Mountain College (NC) and met artists Robert Rauschenberg (painting), John Cage (music), and Merce Cunningham (dance). It was Voulkos’ work during the 1950’s that broke the division between fine art and craft and re-defined ceramics. 

In 1954, Voulkos established a ceramics department at the Los Angeles County Art Institute (now Otis). In 1959, Voulkos was fired by Millard Sheets over the raucous direction of the ceramics program. He was a Professor at the University of California, Berkeley from 1959-85. His work as an innovator, teacher, and colleague inspired generations of ceramists.

X-Neck, 1990. Stoneware.

Abstract VIII: I Got the Cobalt Blues, 1979. Color lithograph.

Abstract VII: Give Us a Break, 1979. Color lithograph.

Abstract VI: Checks in the Mail, 1979. Color lithograph.

Abstract V: Flyface, 1979. Color lithograph.

Patti Warashina

Patti Warashina (b. 1940) was born in Spokane, Washington during World War II. Warashina’s work explores profound narratives concerning politics, warfare, feminism, and the human condition. Warashina’s use of scale, abstract concepts, and vivid imagination are signature characteristics of her work.

Warashina received a Bachelor of Fine Arts and a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Washington and studied with renowned sculptor Robert Sperry (also featured in this exhibition). From 1970-95 she was a professor of ceramics at the University of Washington, where she built one of the strongest ceramic and sculpture departments on the West Coast.

A Brush With a Past, 1987. Low-fire clay, underglaze, glaze and mixed media.