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Sandy Simon

American, b. 1949

Covered Jar

Porcelain and nichromewire
3.875 x 5.125 x 5.5 in.
Gift of the Nora Eccles Treadwell Foundation

Simon’s work is characterized by minimalist porcelain forms and clean, simple glazing, often pure white. She inserts nichrome wire for handles or other accoutrements, such as the crossed wire piercing the acorn-shaped Covered Jar. Along with wire, sometimes she adds seeds, acorns, or thread. Her pottery has a contemporary air, yet also feels familiar and comforting. Simon has embraced the aesthetic and philosophy that grew out of the Japanese mingei tradition, as practiced by Warren MacKenzie. Mingei manifests the simplicity, utility, and timeless beauty of folk art in everyday things. She has remained true to these ideals throughout her forty-year career.

In the late 1960s, Simon was a student at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, and studied under Warren MacKenzie and Curt Hoard. Afterward, she and her husband, Michael Simon, earned a living making pottery in Atlanta for seven years. She then got a teaching job at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, but also filled in for sabbatical vacancies at Purdue, Indiana University, the Appalachian Center for Crafts in Tennessee, and San Francisco State University. In 1980, she moved to California with her second husband, Robert Brady. They bought Peter Voulkos’s huge Berkeley warehouse building in 1986 for studio space, and in 1994 she started TRAX Gallery to showcase work from functional potters she admires.

Billie Sessions, PhD.

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