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Ellice T. Johnston (aka Ellice Tarbet)

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Ellice T. Johnston

American, (1916–1984)

Ellice Tarbet was born in Rexburg, Idaho, and moved at age fifteen to California with her mother and two brothers. She enrolled at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1934. In her senior year she married Daniel Johnston, and graduated with a BA in painting in 1938. Ellice Johnston enrolled at Chouinard Art Institute in 1950. Susan Peterson was hired at Chouinard in 1952, and began introducing the West Coast to high-fire reduction ceramics. In 1955, Johnston followed Peterson to the University of Southern California and steadily gained more knowledge of glazing and firing. Peterson introduced Johnston to the talented sculptor/potter Dora De Larios (see Figure and Animals of the Sun), and they became lifelong friends. De Larios said of Johnston, “The work she produced was full of humor and charm,” and this figure certainly illustrates these qualities. Johnston was instrumental in founding two important West Coast ceramics organizations. The first was Irving Place Studio in Los Angeles, with Dora De Larios, in 1961. In 1974, two years after moving to Ashland, Oregon, Johnston was involved with founding Clayfolk, an organization serving clay workers in Northern California and southern Oregon.

Artist Objects

Plate 1984.923

Untitled 1984.897

Untitled 1984.1046

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