Oral history interview with Frances Senska, 2001 April 16
Senska, Frances, 1914-2009
Forbes, Donna, 1929-
Archie Bray Foundation
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America
Place of publication, production, or execution:
Transcript: 28 pages.
Originally recorded on 3 sound cassettes. Reformated in 2010 as 3 digital wav files. Duration is 1 hr., 46 min.
An interview of Frances Senska conducted 2001 April 16, by Donna Forbes, for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America.
The interview took place in Senska's home and studio Bozeman, Montana. Senska speaks of her childhood in Africa and her exposure to African culture, specifically the pottery; immigrating to the United States, attending high school in Iowa City, Iowa, and completing both her BA and MA at the University of Iowa; joining the Navy; her interests in art and specifically how they developed into ceramics; her instructors; her teaching experience; the establishment of the Archie Bray Foundation in Helena, Montana; the community of artists in Montana; how function is the most important aspect of her pottery; clay-digging expeditions; the design of her house and studio; how she listens to African music when she throws clay; the influence of craft magazines; the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts [NCECA]; honorary awards and degrees she has received; and changes in the ceramics world over the past fifty years. Senska recalls Peter Voulkos, Rudy Autio, Trude Guermonprez, Henry Meloy, Jun Kaneko, Maija Grotell, Branson Stevenson and others.
Quotes and excerpts must be cited as follows: Oral history interview with Frances Senska, 2001 April 16. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Funding for this interview was provided by the Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America. Funding for the digital preservation of this interview was provided by a grant from the Save America's Treasures Program of the National Park Service.
Frances Senska (1914-2009) was a ceramicist and educator in Bozeman, Montana. Donna Forbes (1929- ) is the director of the Yellowstone Art Center, in Billings, Montana.
This interview is part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and administrators.
Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, 750 9th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20001