Karen Skipper Cruce

I was raised with a strong sense of family with a teacher for a mom and a journalist and cartoonist for a dad. After college since jobs were in short supply in my geology field in Seattle, I took what I thought would be a short gig in the finance field. For 23 years I was a financial advisor with a national firm but when I took a night pottery class, I was hooked. Five years later at the age of 45, I retired from my “first” life and became a full time clay artist.

Now with over 29 years of working in ceramics, I have grown to realize the importance of each piece being well-crafted. This, as a functional potter, became my main focus for years. Along the way, I discovered that the inspiration for my finished work came from the earth – it’s processes, textures and color. The earth provides endless inspiration. Look at canyon walls, swiftly moving waters, landscapes, the earth’s horizon at sunrise and dusk, geyser pools – the list never ends and is never boring. In fact it is short of miraculous. The earth also provides us with a fabulous pallet of color from which to work. Everyone has marveled at the red, purple & orange sunsets, mesmerized by the deep shades of blues in the ocean and even captivated by the whites of clouds. With these elements I developed distinct bodies of work each with glazing and designs which create a beautifully crafted piece that is finished in such a way to capture the viewers’ attention and stimulate a tactile response.

I realized early on how important it is to pass down the knowledge one has learned to future generations of clay artists. That is one reason I opened Potters Place, a community ceramics studio and why I decided to work with a great group of folks to form Clay Houston and for over 9 years a national ceramics gallery with 4 other women.