Kathy Erteman

Artist Statement

There are many ways to approach art making with clay. I follow various schools and cultural traditions in making sculptural vessels and works for the wall.

As a young artist in Los Angeles I followed the work of Gertrud and Otto Natzler, and L.A. clay artists associated with Chouinard Art School, Adrian Saxe, Ralph Bacerra and Elsa Rady. Their well executed and highly personal vessels gave me license to go beyond the strict unspoken rules of pottery making at the time. I embraced industrial methods of making such as slip casting, jiggering and plaster turning taught by Dr. Robert Ramsey at California State University Long Beach.

The study of early 20th century design,ie Wiener Werkstaette, and the architecture and design of international modernists like Le Corbusier, Neutra, and Joseph Hoffman contributed to my modernist attitude about form. I have always been interested in a pared down aesthetic and admire Sol Le Witt and Agnes Martin for their freedom within restraint.

The sculptural vessels I make are metaphorical in their exploration of containment, and celebrate form, setting aside the constraints of utility. When making tableware, I consider design and the rigors of daily use. The spirit of my hand in these pieces is modest, to harmonize with and act as a support to the prepared ingredients. I have taken inspiration from early 20th century European and American studio artists and designers, including Lucie Rie, Timo Saraponeva, Russel Wright, and many anonymous artists who chose to embrace a pared down, restrained, and graceful aesthetic to enhance the routine of daily life in an artful way.

A long time interest in abstract painting and formal principles of design, specifically Sean Scully, Mark Rothko, and Joseph Albers has resulted in the introduction of color and texture into glaze and slip surfaces and expanded my focus to include monoprints,paintings on flat clay tablets, and dimensional wall square installations. Abstraction of natural forms and employment of chance operations drive these compositions.


Kathy Erteman a New York based ceramic artist and designer makes vessels and architectural wall pieces in her Manhattan studio.

She received her BFA from California State University Long Beach, completed additional studies with Adrian Saxe at UCLA, and interned with Judy Chicago on the Dinner Party after graduation.

Her work has been exhibited internationally and is included in private and public collections including Renwick Gallery/Smithsonian Institute, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Taipei Museum of Fine Arts and SC Johnson Collection. She is widely published in design books and periodicals that include The New York Times, Metropolitan Home, American Craft, Elle Decor and Ceramics Monthly.

A full time studio artist and part time teacher, Kathy has taught at Parsons School of Design and been a guest lecturer at The Brooklyn Museum, SUNY New Paltz, Bezalel Academy of Art, Jerusalem and currently teaches at Greenwich House Pottery.

She is the recipient of a NYFA Fellowship and EBAY artist technology grant.

Erteman was recently awarded a Professional Fellows Cultural Exchange Fulbright in partnership with Aid to Artisans to work with Tibetan potters in Yunnan, China.