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Susan Harris

American, b. 1945

Tripod Ding with Bufonidae
1990

Stoneware
13.25 x 8 x 8 in.
Gift of the Nora Eccles Treadwell Foundation
1991.41

Susan Harris makes ceremonial-inspired vessels. Harris has a long-held fascination with artifacts from the past, most notably ancient oriental and Etruscan bronze ritual vessels. She typically uses an iron-bearing clay, which she embellishes with impressed designs and populates them with small creatures—frogs, snails, and scorpions. Her surfaces have become much more tactile, textural, embellished and embossed since this piece from the early 1990s. She has been perfecting her ideas, firings, and textures for the last thirty years. Harris typically treats her unglazed ritual containers with mineral composite washes, resulting in color gradations heightened through a reduction-cooled process—such as seen in Urn, whose skin looks like wrought iron. While Harris is well known for her fine art ceramics, she continues to make exceptional functional pottery.

Recently retired, Susan Harris was a Professor of Art & Design at Southern Utah University, where, since 1996, she taught ceramics and sculpture. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in anthropology from the University of Illinois, and her Master of Fine Arts in ceramics from Utah State University (USU). In 1990, she taught for a year at the Kansas City Art Institute with Ken Ferguson (see 1960s Ken Ferguson Bottle) and for a year at USU with John Neely (see his work in Unearthed).

Billie Sessions, PhD.


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