Meet Marion Angelica

Marion Angelica

Marion Angelica

Marion Angelica is a biology/art major, arts administrator, academic and returned ceramic artist. Although trained to throw on the wheel, she now exclusively hand-builds her work. She feel that hand-building, and in particular using soft slabs and coils, gives her great flexibility in creating form, using texture and reflecting the luscious nature of wet clay in her fired work.

Angelica’s work is made of Grolleg porcelain fired to 2300 degrees F. While known to be temperamental, porcelain has lovely qualities. It accepts even the most subtle textures and allows glaze colors to be rich and brilliant. With tender handling and careful drying, it can be cajoled into a wide variety of forms. She has fallen in love with this media, with both her hands and heart.

Angelica creates functional ceramic work that has a strong sculptural sense. She has chosen to do this for several reasons:

  • She would like her work to reside in homes or offices rather than museums.
  • She wants her creations to retain sculptural elements, yet she also wants to add the challenge of designing them to be used for living, rather than simply for viewing.
  • She would like people to live intimately with her creations and make them part of their lives’ celebrations, rituals and pleasures.

Angelica is currently a resident studio artist and teacher at The Northern Clay Center in Minneapolis, MN. She returned to the studio in 2006 after over 25 years of working in arts administration, education and nonprofit consulting. Learn more about her at

2019 It’s Only Clay Exhibit >>

A conversation with Marion Angelica and Katie Carter (KBXE Community Radio) >>

Artist Statement:

When I returned to the studio after a twenty-year hiatus, I committed to make work that people could enjoy in their own homes rather than view in public spaces. I want people to interact with my work intimately and on a regular basis — to make my pieces part of their life activities. My goal is to create an invitation to pause and savor the moment: to create a favorite cup with which to start the day, or a serving bowl used to bring friends and family together over a meal. The owner will instill personal meaning in each piece as it becomes part of their life. I believe that hand-made work invites and grounds people in the importance of direct, tactile, and authentic experiences, and that this provides a critical balance with our involvement in the technological world.

Much of my work is tableware, which I design to be both functional and interesting to view when not in use. I was originally trained as a sculptor, so form is a strong focus in my work. Designing new tableware that explores sculptural possibilities within the limits of functionality is the most exhilarating aspect of my practice.

My inspiration is drawn from the forms and textures in nature, although I do not try to replicate these. Over the past several years I have been creating work that evokes the forces of wind and water as they sculpt our planet. I incorporate the subtle colors, textures, and shapes created by these processes of change into my pieces. I combine lyrical lines in my forms with textures drawn from rock formations. This combination imparts both an elegant and primal feel to my work. Weathering and erosion demonstrate that even things that seem everlasting evolve and change into new and different forms; that change is ongoing and inevitable, upsetting and beautiful simultaneously.

During the past two years of dramatic change in our politics and social structure, I have had to contemplate how I can concretely work, using my skills a ceramic artist, to support the values I feel are being eroded. My many years working in and with nonprofits before returning to the studio, has led me to make interactive installations that raise money for the people working in nonprofits working to retain and enhance these values. I do this in addition to creating purely functional work used by individuals.

I work in high fire porcelain and fell in love with this pure white clay the instant I touched it. Its fine grain is sensual to the hand and very receptive to subtleties in texture. It is satiny when left unglazed and polished; its whiteness enables glazes to show rich colors and depth. On my textured surfaces, glazes flow and pool around the texture to create color variations and patterns. Although trained on the potter’s wheel, I choose to create my work from slabs and coils of clay. This allows me to readily create many different shapes and add texture as I work the soft clay. Porcelain has a reputation for being difficult to work with and prone to cracking. My trick is to cajole it into submission and then patiently dry it very slowly.

I like to work in series, making, modifying and refining an idea over time.

The question that continually invigorates and propels me is, “What if…?”