Donna Namnoum ( she, her )

Artist Statement

I’ve always been interested in the vessel aesthetic; from the beginning I have used the potter’s wheel to alter wheel thrown vessels to make sculptural forms. I have cycled back to forms inspired by plants more often than not and over the past several years have been making covered jars whose lids and sometimes the vessel itself, are covered with plant-like, organic and abstracted forms. Also in this series I have created relief sculptures for the wall.

Each of the parts of my sculptures are made on the potter’s wheel, allowing me to create forms that look alive - growing, twisting, and even wilting. The wheel-thrown parts are altered and then assembled.

My interest in historical ceramics and world pottery has informed my work: the subjects of my early forms were classic pottery vessels and then evolved to being about and reflecting various natural forms - plants, bugs, human beings and even cellular-like forms. Meanwhile, they have evolved from representational to varying degrees of abstraction. My intent is that the works conjure familiar images; some easily recognizable and others vague.

Surface and color is integral to the finished forms. Making my own glazes improves my ability to add texture, layers and colorful surfaces that can make the forms more visually compelling. I am aware of the uncertainty of how a piece may turn out after the glaze firing; the goal is for that uncertainty and experimentation to be visible in the final work.


Donna Namnoum is a contemporary ceramist who creates sculptural vessels in which all the parts are thrown on the pottery wheel. Most often, the vessels are covered jar forms inspired by plants and other growths. In the current jar series, the main vessel becomes the host and the lids of these vessels grow sprouts from the surface or are meant to appear as though they live inside. The pieces range from being somewhat representational to varying degrees of abstraction. Her intent is that the works conjure familiar images; some easily recognizable and others vague. Experimentation in making glazes allows her to add texture, interesting layers and colorful surfaces intended to bring the forms to life.Born in 1955, Namnoum received a Bachelors degree in art education at Southern Connecticut State University and a Masters in Art Education and Ceramics at the Hartford Art School of the University of Hartford. She worked as an art teacher and administrator in Connecticut public schools, mostly in West Hartford for 35 years until her retirement. Now a full time artist, Donna maintains a home and studio in Canton, CT. In 2020 her work twice appeared in Ceramics Monthly; in 2020 and 2023 has been shown at the New Britain Museum of American Art in Nor’Easter, a national juried exhibition; also in 2020 and 2023 her work was chosen for A-ONE, a national juried exhibit at the Silvermine Galleries in New Canaan, Connecticut; in 2023 has been awarded the Alternative Media Award in the Annual Juried Exhibition of Connecticut Women Artists.