"I hope also that we will continue to be able to look upon art and artists as one of the factors which can be used to draw nations together....
We need emotional outlets in this country and the more artistic people we develop the better it will be for us as a nation."
The focus of my work is always on a sense of calm and unobtrusiveness, and on the subtleties of the handmade. I make bowls, cups and plates - the basics, the essentials. I try to find a concurrence of quiet and liveliness, minimalism and warmth, tradition and originality.
I was born and raised in rural Georgia, the youngest of three children. My father had a wholesale tire business, and my mother was a housewife. My dad would give me the leftover price sheets from his tire store to draw on because the backs were blank, and it seems like I was constantly drawing on the backs of those pages.
My love of books took me to St. John's College, the “Great Books School” in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where I earned my undergraduate degree. After graduating, I went on to study the Russian language for three years, culminating in a summer at the University of Leningrad. Next, I moved to New York City on a whim, where I got a job at a Japanese bank - just to pay the rent and to try something new. I was trained as a money market trader. My co-workers at the bank introduced me to the world of Japanese ceramics, and a show of 17th century Korean celadon ceramics at the Metropolitan Museum of Art marked a defining moment in my life. I began attending evening classes at a small Japanese pottery studio in Manhattan while still working full-time at the bank. After five years, I left New York and sought out an apprenticeship in Japan. I studied under Mr. Yutaka Ohashi of Karatsu, Japan, for 4½ years.
After completing my apprenticeship, I returned to New Mexico to buy a remote plot of land in the mountains north of Santa Fe and set up my studio. That was in 1999, and I also met my now husband, Mark Saxe, who is a stone sculptor. Together we own Rift Gallery in Rinconada, New Mexico, south of Taos along the Rio Grande rift valley.
Thank you for your interest in my story.
Photo courtesy of Robert Eckert
SOLO and TWO PERSON EXHIBITIONS
Weyrich Gallery, Albuquerque, New Mexico Annually / Bi-Annually 2008-present
Touching Stone Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico 2002, 2003
Kobo Gallery, Seattle, Washington 2012, 2014
Sake Ware curated by Jeff Shapiro, Lacoste Gallery, Concord, MA March 2016
Crafted, Society for Contemporary Craft, Philadelphia, PA 2015 - present
American Pottery Festival, Northern Clay Center, Minneapolis, MN 2007 - 2016
La Mesa, Santa Fe Clay at NCECA (various locations) Annually 2008 - present
Numerous invitationals, Santa Fe Clay Gallery, Santa Fe, NM 2005 - present
Steinfest, Claymakers, Durham, NC Annually 2013 - present
Numerous invitationals,The Clay Studio, Philadelphia, PA 2011 - present
Yunomi Invitational, AKAR, Iowa City, IA 2012 - 2014
Weyrich Gallery, Albuquerque, NM 2005-2007
Touching Stone Gallery, Santa Fe, NM 2005
Box Pot, Creative Arts Workshop, New Haven, CT (juried by Garth Clark) 2014
Less is More, The Mitchell Gallery, St. John’s College, Annapolis, MD 2013
Workhouse Clay National, Workhouse Arts Center, Lorton, VA (juried by Peter Held) 2012
San Angelo Ceramics Competition, San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts, San Angelo, TX 2012, 2014
Ceramics Regional, University of Dallas, Dallas, TX 2009
Originals, Museum of Fine Art, Santa Fe, NM 2005
Smithsonian Craft Show, Washington, DC 2011
American Crafts Council, Atlanta, GA 2008
Crafts Finalist, Martha Stewart American Made Competition 2015
San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts
CURATORIAL / JUROR EXPERIENCE
The Simple Cup, KOBO Gallery, Seattle, WA, December 2013
Celebration of Clay, Ghost Ranch, Abiquiu, NM July 2014
New Mexico Potters and Clay Artists, Beauty, Quality, Functionality Award, Celebration of Clay 2015 (juried by Debra Fritts)
Merit Award, San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts, 19th Annual Ceramics Competition 2012 (juried by Garth Clark)
New Mexico Potters and Clay Artists, Recipient of Scholarship, Critical Santa Fe, NCECA 2010
New Mexico Arts Commission, Recipient of Folk Arts Master Honorarium 2009
Honorable Mention Award: Harwood Art Center, Albuquerque, NM, “Celebration of Clay” 2002
©2017 Betsy Williams