Craft and the Art of Clay,
by Susan Peterson

Susan Peterson

Susan Peterson was born in 1925 in McPherson, Kansas and grew up in Grand Island, Nebraska. In the course of her distinguished career she has established five ceramic departments at schools around the United States: the Wichita Art Association School, Wichita, Kansas, 1947-49, Chouinard Art Institute, Los Angeles, 1951-55, the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, 1955-77, USC summer campus, ISOMATA, Idyllwild, California, 1956-86 and Hunter College, City University of New York, 1972-1994.

In 1979-80 she built the Joe L. Evins Center for Appalachian Crafts, Smithville, Tennessee, on a grant from the US Congress to commemorate Joe. L. Evinsâ service as House Ways and Means Committee chairman. The school opened in 1980, equipped with five studios for clay, fiber, glass, metal, wood, a gallery, living spaces, common areas and a dining facility. Today the school exists under the jurisdiction of Tennessee Technological University as a distinguished year-round craft school offering both BFA and MFA degrees.

Ms. Peterson, a Fellow of the American Craft Council, also serves on the boards of both the International Ceramic Museum of the New York State College of Ceramics and American Ceramics magazine. She teaches and lectures internationally, most recently as keynote speaker at the International Ceramic conferences in Helsinki, Canberra, and Baltimore and at the Nordic Ceramic Conference in Stockholm this summer. She holds the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Ceramic Educational Council of America and in 1997 was named Outstanding Alumna of the Year for Alfred University.

Susan Peterson has written extensively on ceramics and ceramic artists and is currently at work on three new books÷the first of which, tentatively titled Wheels, Kilns & Clay, will be published this fall in softcover in the USA by Prentice Hall and in hardcover by Overlook/Viking. The European and Asian editions will be published by Lawrence King. The third edition of her 1992 book, The Craft and Art of Clay will be published in 1999 by the same publishers.

In addition to her curatorial work, she continues to exhibit her work widely. In the summer of 1998 she will participate÷with her daughter Jan, a potter and a jeweler÷in an exhibition at the Janet Mansfield Gallery in Sydney, Australia.

The essay included in this Internet Website, Women Artists of the American West, has been excerpted from Pottery of Native American Women: The Legacy of Generations, the catalog for an exhibition Susan Peterson curated at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in 1997. The catalog was published in 1997 by Abbeville Press, New York.

Essay · Statement · Biography · Bibliography






All text © Susan Peterson, 1998.