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Clary Illian

Biography to Display: 

 Born Sioux City, Iowa  

 

EDUCATION 

1963 BFA Ceramics, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa 

 

APPRENTICESHIPS & RESIDENCIES 

1964-1965 St. Ives Pottery, Bernard Leach, St. Ives, Cornwall, England 

 

PRIMARY WORK EXPERIENCE 

1965 - present Studio Potter 

 

BIOGRAPHY 

Clary Illian is well known for her wheel thrown functional pieces. Illian apprenticed at Leach Pottery from 1964 to 1965, leaving with an appreciation of the Asian aesthetic and of the hard work of being a studio potter. These have guided her work during her career. Through the years she has worked with stoneware, then porcelain, and finally earthenware. She switched from a gas fired kiln to electric firing which allowed her to use brighter colors, and simplify her lifestyle.  At this time, she began decorating her work with images of plants and animals, continuing to produce useful pottery for local customers at a reasonable price. 

A Portion of the movie, A Year in the Life: Clary Illian, can be accessed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AhobQAM1Mho.  

The Potters’ Cast, episode 223, an interview with Clary Illian, “The Value of Apprenticeship”, can be accessed here: http://thepotterscast.com/223. 

Clary Illian is featured in the PBS Documentary, Craft in America: Crosswords, Midwestern Potters, segment: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bzdkoqJLNqE. 

Public Collections

Public Collections to Display: 

rosenfieldcollection.com 

Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, Cedar Rapids, Iowa 

Bibliography

Bibliography to Display: 

Arvada Center. Useful Pots: Exhibition May 10-June 28, 1981. Arvada CO: Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities, 1981. 

Hluch, Kevin A. The Art of Contemporary Pottery. Iola WI: Krause Publications, 2000. 

Illian, Clary. The Potter’s Workbook. Iowa City, IA: University of Iowa Press, 2002. 

_________. Trevor Corser: His Life and WorkSt. Ives, England: Leach Pottery, 2016. 

_________. Guest Editor. “Women and Clay.” The Studio Potter 20, no. 1 (Dec. 1991).  

Illian, Clary, Atom Burke, Rene Paine, Saffron Heike.  Clary Illian: A Year in the Life (DVD format). 

Williams, Gerry, ed.  “Clary Illian and Garrison, Iowa.” The Studio Potter 7, no. 2 (Jan. 1979). 

 

 

Typical Marks
St Ives Pottery, England, and Clary Illian personal mark
St Ives Pottery, England, and Clary Illian personal mark
1964-1965
2016
Covered Jar
Date: 1964-1965
Materials: Stoneware
Method: Thrown
Surface Technique: Glaze
Chris Rupp Collection
Photo: Chris Rupp
Chris Rupp Collection
Photo: Chris Rupp Collection
Jar
Date: ca 2010
Materials: Stoneware
Method: Thrown
Surface Technique: Glaze
Grainne Martin Collection
Grainne Martin Collection
Yumomi
Date: 2016
Materials: Stoneware
Method: Thrown
Surface Technique: Glaze, Impressed, Incised, Oxide
Chris Rupp Collection
Photo: Chris Rupp
Chris Rupp Collection
Photo: Chris Rupp
Bowl
Materials: Stoneware
Method: Thrown
Surface Technique: Glaze
rosenfieldcollection.com
rosenfieldcollection.com
Casserole
Materials: Earthenware
Method: Thrown and Altered
Surface Technique: Glaze
rosenfieldcollection.com
rosenfieldcollection.com
Plate
Materials: Earthenware
Method: Thrown
Surface Technique: Glaze
rosenfieldcollection.com
rosenfieldcollection.com
Pitcher
Materials: Stoneware
Method: Thrown
Surface Technique: Glaze
rosenfieldcollection.com
rosenfieldcollection.com
Yunomi
Materials: Stoneware
Method: Thrown and Altered
Surface Technique: Carved, Glaze
rosenfieldcollection.com
rosenfieldcollection.com
Mug
Form: Mug
Materials: Earthenware
Method: Thrown
Dimensions: 4.5 x 3.25 inches
Surface Technique: Glaze
Gift of Ingrid Lilligren. In the permanent collection, Brunnier Art Museum, University Museums, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa.
Photo: Brunnier Museum
Gift of Ingrid Lilligren. In the permanent collection, Brunnier Art Museum, University Museums, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa.
Photo: Brunnier Museum
Photo: Brunnier Museum

Citation: McGee, Donna. "The Marks Project." Last modified April 16, 2021. http://themarksproject.org:443/marks/illian