Sandy Simon is truly one of the grand dames of ceramics. Her professional career now spanning more than 40 years, Simon is a studio potter (and owner of the Berkley-based TRAX Gallery focused on utilitarian ceramics) who came of age in the late 1960s at a turbulent time in America as a student at the at the University of Minnesota. Studying with Curtis Hoard and Warren McKenzie, Simon learned the tenets of what is now known as the Minge-sota school, an aesthetic and philosophy of making that grew out of the Japanese folk tradition Mingei, one that embraced simplicity, utility and timeless beauty in everyday things made for ordinary people. Simon has remained true to these ideals throughout her entire career.
A maker of tableware, Simon’s pots have changed and evolved over the years while remaining constant in their intimacy of scale, meticulous craftsmanship, and thoughtful design. She is a rare maker, her ability to work tight as accomplished as to work loose, her forms gestural and architectural, simple lined and definite. Nothing is ever extraneous in her work, everything fully considered and purposeful. There is and always has been a fearlessness in Simon’s work that has allowed her to experiment with and use wire in the creation of knobs or handles for lidded vessels, a palette spanning white to acid green, and surface qualities both pure and quietly riotous. Whether working in terra cotta or porcelain, her pots command and hold one’s attention, the user perhaps recognizing Simon’s and the Mingei movements intent of instilling beauty in peoples lives through the creation of art for the people, objects for their daily use serving one more than their intended function.
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