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They Influence Me

In my Beads of Clay introduction, I cite several people as sources of inspiration.
I'd like to use this post to introduce three of them, and to say a bit about why and how they have, and continue to, inspire me. Only one is a potter.

View of Liner
Letting the Clay Show Naturally
Shiho Kanzaki's journey to becoming a potter was fraught with difficulties and loss. Destined to be an attorney, he was disowned by his father when he, instead, chose to revivify a pottery tradition native to Shigaraki, Japan. His friendliness to imperfection, naturalness and excellence, as well as his persistence in mastering firing, are a background "music" to my work and thoughts. He is very generous with his knowledge, sharing his firings with many visiting ceramic artists.

His story and aesthetic, in brief

His work

Isn't it noteworthy that he has revived an ancient tradition, yet forges ahead into the most modern venues, online? He is very easy to find, and has a FaceBook page. There, he tells more of his journey. It's extremely interesting and thought-provoking.

4-inch Tile SetsTorso 2I am always aware that ceramic work is a world that exists between earth and glass. Glaze, itself, is a form of glass. As a result, both arts--ceramic and glasswork--share quite a bit of common ground.

Torso 1
I admire Kristin Gudjonsdottir because her work is so original. She often combines glass and clay. She has also improvised many of her own tools and methods and readily shares them on her website: http://art.net/~stina/FAQ.html

My glass tiles with inclusions were inspired by her work, as were these two glass torsos. The bisque molds I made for the torsos were an improvisation on Gudjonsdottirs' own improvised molds.

It also attracts me that many of her large-scale pieces resemble jewelry: http://art.net/~stina/Workmadein94.html

Alla Sviridenko, a silk painter, caught my attention with this statement

"I immediately set to work, experimenting a lot, spoiling plenty of silk but it was nothing. I was making progress, I knew it, but most important was that feeling of satisfaction in my work."

She is one more artist who started with no tradition to support her, no information readily available. Living in Belarus, she had to travel all the way to Moscow to buy her silk painting supplies and had to find her own way--by trial and error--learning with her eyes from the finished work of others.

Kraft Boxes: for PendantsIn the beginning, I had a hard time with my mistakes, and the "waste" they represented. Her words gave me a lot of freedom and truly let me feel that waste was a natural and important part of the process. Her results also gave me a lot of hope that my own waste and efforts in self-education would not be in vain.

The color-freedom and "wasted paper" torn designs of my packaging were inspired by her words.

These three artists are very strong influences on my outlook, my values, and my process. I encourage you to look further into their pages--they are rich.


  1. I am so inspired by your search for the non-traditional. The work is beautiful. I plan to visit the links you gave us and learn more. Thank you so much.

  2. I love how you are inspired not only by the physical work of the artist - but find inspiration within their values and stories behind the work that they create! That in itself is inspirational... Thank you for sharing!

  3. Thank you both, Mary & Marsha, yes...their lives alone inspire me & non-traditional pathways really help me understand who I am as an artist. Very grateful for the timing of public internet access...would I ever have found them without it?


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