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Patti Warashina

American, b. 1940

They Thought It Was My Last Trip

Earthenware, porcelain, mixed media
38 x 12 x 17.5 in.
Gift of the Nora Eccles Treadwell Foundation

Patti Warashina’s They Thought It Was My Last Trip, a constrained woman is in a coffinlike car covered with flowers. Close inspection reveals that the figure has one eye open in a symbolic wink. For most of the last fifty years Warashina has created such narratives to explore feminism, car culture, political and social topics, and the absurdities and foibles of the human condition.

Warashina was born in Japan, the youngest of three children, but she was raised in Spokane, Washington, where her father was a dentist. When she was ten years old, her father died, leaving her mother to raise the children alone. She did not consider studying art until she moved to Seattle for college, with the intention of majoring in science; she took a drawing class as an elective. Warashina’s first husband was a fellow ceramics student, Fred Bauer, and from 1964 to 1970 she exhibited as Patti Bauer in Funk art exhibitions. In 1976, she married Robert Sperry. During the 1970s and 1980s, Warashina, Sperry (see his 1987 Platter), and Howard Kottler (see Kottler’s 1973 Royal Paisley Pot) ran the ceramics program at the University of Washington, making it into one of the best-known programs in the United States.

Billie Sessions, PhD.

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