Artist Toshiko Takaezu

Renowned Hawaii Artist Toshiko Takaezu Dies Toshiko Takaezu, a renowned ceramic artist born on the Big Island, has died at the age of 88. Takaezu died in a convalescent center in Honolulu Tuesday, her sister, Miriam Takaezu, told Civil Beat. She had suffered a stroke last May. A week before her death, Takaezu was able to view a new monograph about her work published by the University of North Carolina Press, the book's editor, Peter Held, curator of Ceramics at Arizona State University Art Museum's Ceramics Research Center, told Civil Beat. The book is titled "The Art of Toshiko Takaezu:In the Language of Silence." "Her career in ceramics mirrors the evolution of the contemporary craft movement in America," Held told Civil Beat. Takaezu taught at Princeton University for 25 years and had a significant impact on several generations of artists, he said. While she left Hawaii to study ceramics at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in 1951, she stayed connected with the islands where she was born and grew up, her sister said. Takaezu was born in Pekeekeo in 1922. She grew up on the Big Island and Maui before moving to Honolulu, where she studied at the University of Hawaii. "Her signature glaze she called Makaha Blue," Held said. "It was informed by the color of sky and ocean. The environment of Hawaii helped form a lot of her aesthetic." Her work is in the collections of many museums, including the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C., the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Honolulu Academy of Arts and the Hawaii State Art Museum.

The Museum of Contemporary Art in Honolulu held a major show of [...]

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John Webster Keefe

John Webster Keefe "It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved curator of decorative arts, John Webster Keefe. John joined the New Orleans Museum of Art staff in 1983. Over the years, he curated numerous exhibitions and permanent collection installations and dramatically expanded the scope as well as the quality of our decorative arts collection. His extraordinary passion and encyclopedic knowledge of the visual arts were legendary, as was his quick wit, charm, and sharp sense of humor. His enthusiasm for the arts of the nineteenth century, which he described as 'his beloved century,' transformed the way our audiences viewed the time period and the art. John was a great teacher, a mentor, and a friend to many in the museum community and beyond, and he will be sorely missed." 

- Susan Taylor, Director of the New Orleans Museum of Art

By | 2013-04-27T21:39:00+00:00 April 27th, 2013|Obituaries|Comments Off on John Webster Keefe

Robert Judson Clark

JANUARY 05, 2011 Robert Judson Clark Remembered To all who study American Arts and Crafts, a debt is owed Robert Judson Clark. Clark was behind 'The Arts & Crafts Movement in America: 1876-1916,' the landmark 1972 Princeton University exhibit often credited as the catalyst for the revival of American Arts and Crafts. Professor Clark died on Tuesday, Jan. 4, after a long illness. We share the grief of loss and the celebration of life with his family and with the entire Arts and Crafts community. A full remembrance of Robert Judson Clark can be found at Bruce Johnson's website,

By | 2013-04-27T21:36:37+00:00 April 27th, 2013|Obituaries|Comments Off on Robert Judson Clark

Paul Soldner

JANUARY 04, 2011 | By Jori Finkel, Los Angeles Times Paul Soldner dies at 89 Ceramicist known for American raku
He stumbled onto the style he became known for, befitting of an artist who celebrated the beauty of the accidental and unpredictable. Paul Soldner, a ceramicist and longtime Scripps College teacher who introduced a pottery technique called American raku, died Monday at his home in Claremont after a period of declining health. He was 89. "He was one of the greats in California ceramics — part of the West Coast scene that came on in the '60s with Peter Voulkos, John Mason and Ken Price," said Doug Casebeer, an artistic director at theAnderson Ranch Arts Center in Snowmass Village, Colo., which Soldner helped to found. "It was a generation influenced by jazz — the idea of spontaneity and responding to your materials." Born in 1921 in Summerfield, Ill., Soldner moved several times in the Midwest for his father's work as a Mennonite minister. The family landed in the small town of Bluffton, Ohio, where he attended Bluffton College. He didn't by all accounts have a strong interest in art until he enlisted in the Army medical corps during World War II. As he later told his family, his desire to become an artist was ignited by the war, or, more specifically, by seeing beauty emerge from terror in the form of charcoal drawings made by Holocaust victims on the barracks walls of the Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria. "He was really struck by the fact that people in such dire circumstances tried to make beauty out of their lives," said his daughter, Stephanie Soldner Sullivan. As for his Mennonite upbringing, she said that her father and [...]

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Allen May Godding, Jr.

Godding, Allen, Jr. May 25,1946 - September 11, 2010 of Pine City. Allen, a foster parent for over 40 years, died accidentally while visiting family. He will be remembered as a robust, caring, generous man with a huge heart and passion to help others lead a better life. Survived by countless others who loved him. In lieu of memorials, please donate to Toys for Tots (Pine County Christmas).

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Mose Mesre

Mose Mesre, “Uncle Mose” 77, of Zanesville, OH passed away on Sunday August 1, 2010 at Genesis Hospice Morrison House.
Mose was born on December 22, 1932 in Zanesville to the late Samuel and Mary Makhool- Mesre. Mose was retired from the Zanesville Times Recorder as a Photographer. Following his retirement he went on to work for The Conn’s Potato Chip Company for 32 years. Uncle Mose was well known for his commercials on Whiz-TV featuring Conns’ Potato Chips. Mose served our country and protected our freedom by serving in the US Army. His passions involved researching the history of Zanesville and the local pottery. He was an avid pottery collector and was instrumental in the development of local pottery festivals. He was a devout Christian and was dedicated to helping others. He was a member of the South Zanesville Church of The Nararene. Mose is survived by three brothers Nick Mesre, Herb Mesre, and George Mesre, a sister Marguerite Mesre all of Zanesville. A niece Jodi (Rich) Witte, a nephew Sam Mesre, and two great nieces Anna and Rachel Witte.
In addition to his parents he was preceded in death by two sisters Josephine Mesre and Yvonne Mesre. The family would like to thank Dr. Raul Hernandez for his many years of caring for Mose, and Genesis Hospice for their love and care they provided during his last days. To send a note of condolence to the family and click obituaries.

By | 2013-04-27T21:02:31+00:00 April 27th, 2013|Obituaries|Comments Off on Mose Mesre

Bertha Ellen Stevenson

Bertha Ellen Stevenson A Loss in the Van Briggle Pottery Family Bertha Ellen Stevenson, who found herself at the helm of Van Briggle Pottery after her husband’s death in 1990, passed away on September 25, 2010 in Denver, Colorado.  She was a true visionary with an artistic ability few have ever possessed.  Passionate about the beauty that is synonymous with Van Briggle Pottery as well as classical music and a love for animals, Mrs. Stevenson will be remembered for her generosity, her kindness and her open heart.  She and her husband’s mission was to continue Artus Van Briggle’s dream; they succeeded ten-fold.  When Mrs. Stevenson’s husband, Kenneth, took the reins at Van Briggle, they were only beginning to embark on those new trends and more contemporary designs, including glossy glazes that are indicative of the 1950s and 1960s.  The company thrived under the couple’s direction.  The Stevenson’s son, Craig, remains with the pottery as its chief designer. Mrs. Stevenson is survived by her three children, a sister and eight grandchildren.  If you wish to honor her, the family has requested donations be made to the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region, where she volunteered regularly.  She was laid to rest October 2nd, 2010 and will be missed by all who knew and loved her.  Our condolences and prayers go to the Stevenson family.

By | 2013-04-27T21:34:08+00:00 April 27th, 2013|Obituaries|Comments Off on Bertha Ellen Stevenson

Mary Lynn Rago

We are saddened to report that David Rago's daughter, Mary Lynn Rago has passed away. Bucks County Courier Times Mary Lynn Julia Rago of Lambertville, N.J., died Thursday, June 24, 2010, of a pulmonary embolism. She was 34. A graduate of Hunterdon High School, she had a degree in cosmetology from the Jeanne Madeline School in Philadelphia. Preceded in death by her beloved grandparents, Bernice and Charles Small, she is survived by her parents, Elaine Piechota and David Rago; sister Denise Rago; step-parents Charles Piechota and Suzanne Perrault; grandparents Domenic and Mary Rago; brother-in-law Todd Wallace; and niece Emma Wallace. Her survival of a life threatening illness nine years ago has been a testament of her tremendous will to live and her love of life. She will be remembered with love and tenderness. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Bucks County Animal Shelter, P.O. Box 277, Lahaska, PA, 18931.

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Honey T. Chatham

Introduction to Honey Chatham Obituary: Honey is on the right in this picture. The picture was taken during a tour of her home during the 2004 convention. We are saddened to learn of the passing of a cherished colleague in the pottery world. Honey Chatham had a big heart and generous spirit. American Art Pottery Association members were so fortunate to get to know Honey back in 2004 when we visited the Gulf States for our convention. Our field trip to Biloxi and its environs was a glorious and awesome trip into a time and place that enchanted us all. One of the highlights of our day trip was a visit to the Chatham home. Honey greeted us all individually and welcomed us to see the stunning collection of George Ohr pottery she and her husband Guy had collected over the years. It was unusually cold that morning and Honey thoughtfully offered us hot tea and coffee to warm up as well as home made goodies. Her gracious hospitality and warm, engaging personality made us all feel right at home and wish we could stay and linger for a long while. We will always be grateful to her for creating a very special day. The Gulf has changed over the past six years in dramatic ways. Forever in our memory will be a magical time spent with a delightful and precious woman.   Honey T. Chatham Published on Jessie (Honey) Toney Chatham died Wednesday, June 11, 2010 in Hattiesburg. She was born in 1942 in Albemarle, North Carolina to the late Jacob E. Toney of Shubuta, Mississippi and Ree Ree Toney of Quitman. She graduated from Quitman High School in 1959 and The University [...]

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Nancy Sweezy

Nancy Sweezy, Savior of Jugtown Pottery, Dies at 88
By DOUGLAS MARTIN – Published: February 25, 2010 in the New York Times In the rolling Piedmont hills of North Carolina, potters were turning out fine work before the American Revolution. But by the 20th century, the tradition had faltered. Two passionate women, a half-century apart, saved it. Nancy Sweezy, who died on Feb 6. at 88 in Cambridge, Mass., was the second. Riding a surge of interest in folk arts in the 1960s and 1970s, Ms. Sweezy revived Jugtown, the famous pottery that the first of the two women, Juliana Royster Busbee, started in 1917. Ms. Sweezy begged and borrowed $22,500 to buy the financially staggering Jugtown in 1968. She came up with new glazes to replace ones that used lead, and gave them names like Blueridge Blue and Dogwood White. She recruited talented apprentices; leaned on influential acquaintances, including Rockefellers, for support; developed marketing strategies; and got Jugtown pottery into upscale Northern stores before selling the establishment in 1980. In 2006 the National Endowment for the Arts designated Ms. Sweezy “a national treasure,” saying that her efforts had “helped inspire a revival of the traditional pottery community.” The number of potteries in the area around Seagrove, N.C., rose from 7 in 1968 to more than 100. Mary Farrell, an expert Seagrove potter who apprenticed at Jugtown, said that “there wouldn’t even be a pottery area here” had Ms. Sweezy not come. Ms. Sweezy became involved in Jugtown while shopping for traditional crafts in North Carolina to stock a shop she owned in Cambridge. By contrast, Ms. Busbee fell in love with a striking orange plate she saw at a county fair in North Carolina. She [...]

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