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Oral history interview with Robert Sperry, 1983 August 11

Interviewee:
Sperry, Robert H., 1927-1998  Search this
Sperry, Robert H., 1927-1998  Search this
Interviewer:
Harrington, LaMar, 1917-2005  Search this
Subject:
Voulkos, Peter  Search this
Type:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Topic:
Folk art  Search this
Ceramics  Search this
Art, American -- Northwestern States  Search this
Ceramicists -- Washington (State) -- Seattle -- Interviews  Search this
Decorative arts  Search this
Theme:
Craft  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)13172
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)212448
AAA_collcode_sperry83
Theme:
Craft
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_oh_212448
Online Media:

Oral history interview with Patti Warashina, 2005 September 8

Interviewee:
Warashina, Patti, 1940-  Search this
Warashina, Patti, 1940-  Search this
Interviewer:
Jeck, Doug, 1963-  Search this
Subject:
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Type:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Topic:
Pottery -- Technique  Search this
Decorative arts  Search this
Asian American art  Search this
Asian American artists  Search this
Asian American women artists  Search this
Japanese American art  Search this
Japanese American artists  Search this
Japanese American women artists  Search this
Asian American sculptors  Search this
Asian American ceramicists  Search this
Women artists  Search this
Theme:
Asian American  Search this
Craft  Search this
Women  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)12864
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)255215
AAA_collcode_warash05
Theme:
Asian American
Craft
Women
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_oh_255215
Online Media:

Oral history interview with Akio Takamori, 2009 March 20-21

Interviewee:
Takimori, Akio, 1950-  Search this
Takimori, Akio, 1950-  Search this
Interviewer:
Riedel, Mija, 1958-  Search this
Subject:
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Type:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Topic:
Asian American art  Search this
Asian American artists  Search this
Japanese American art  Search this
Japanese American artists  Search this
Asian American ceramicists  Search this
Theme:
Asian American  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)15660
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)282416
AAA_collcode_takamo09
Theme:
Asian American
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_oh_282416
Online Media:

Oral history interview Opal R. Fleckenstein, 1965 Nov. 19 and 20

Interviewee:
Fleckenstein, Opal R., 1911-1996  Search this
Fleckenstein, Opal R., 1911-1996  Search this
Interviewer:
Bestor, Dorothy K., 1913-  Search this
Subject:
Tobey, Mark  Search this
Anderson, Guy  Search this
Federal Art Project (Wash.)  Search this
New Deal and the Arts Oral History Project  Search this
Type:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Topic:
Federal aid to the arts  Search this
Women painters  Search this
Painters -- Washington (State) -- Seattle -- Interviews  Search this
Theme:
Women  Search this
New Deal  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)11617
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)213463
AAA_collcode_flecke65
Theme:
Women
New Deal
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_oh_213463

Robert Sperry papers, 1951-2002

Creator:
Sperry, Robert H., 1927-1998  Search this
Sperry, Robert H., 1927-1998  Search this
Subject:
Warashina, Patti  Search this
University of Washington  Search this
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Type:
Motion pictures (visual works)
Transcripts
Interviews
Sketches
Drawings
Photographs
Scrapbooks
Videotapes
Topic:
Works of art  Search this
Filmmakers  Search this
Potters -- Japan  Search this
Ceramicists -- Washington (State)  Search this
Ceramics -- Study and teaching  Search this
Theme:
Craft  Search this
Lives of American Artists  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)11125
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)247192
AAA_collcode_sperrobe
Theme:
Craft
Lives of American Artists
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_coll_247192
Online Media:

Oral history interview with Akio Takamori

Interviewee:
Takamori, Akio, 1950-  Search this
Interviewer:
Riedel, Mija, 1958-  Search this
Creator:
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Names:
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Extent:
8 Items (wav files (7 hr., 51 min.), digital)
184 Pages (Transcript)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Pages
Sound recordings
Interviews
Date:
2009 March 20-21
Scope and Contents:
An interview of Akio Takamori conducted 2009 March 20-21, by Mija Riedel, for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America, at Takamori's studio, in Seattle, Washington.
Interview of Akio Takamori, conducted by Mija Reidel for the Archives of American Art, in Seattle, Washington on March 20, 2009. Takamori speaks of growing up in Nobeoka, Japan where his father ran a medical clinic in a diverse part of town; the post war structure of society and the buildings themselves; his interest in art as a young childing drawing figural scenes; class and social situations he observed as a child; his father's interest in both Japanese and Western art; an interest in Peter Bruegel that turned into a lifelong inspiration; the role of politics in his family; moving to Miyazaki, Japan as a young teenager to live with his grandparents while going to school; joining the art club in high school and his fellow club mates who introduced him to more contemporary Japanese and European art; creating Happenings in high school; his interest in county folklore and superstitions and its eventual role in his art; the interaction between Western contemporaries and Japanese traditions in his work; his interest in art history; attending Musashino Art College in Tokyo, Japan where he majored in industrial ceramics; being dissatisfied with college; his political activism while in college; experimenting with paper mache to create three dimensional objects; the mingei movement; his apprenticeship in Koishiwara, Japan where he learned the fundamentals of functional potter; meeting lifelong friends such as Christ Holmquist and mentor Ken Ferguson while in Koishiwara; moving to the United States in 1974 and attending Kansas City Art Institute under the direction of Ferguson; various projects he undertook while finishing his degree at Kansas City; receiving his MFA from Alfred University, where he experimented with the idea of what contemporary art should be; his slab pieces; his first residency at the Archie Bray foundation in Helena, Montana and his continued relationship with the Foundation; traveling between Japan and the United States while acting as a substitute professor at various universities; his relationship with Garth Clark's gallery for over 20 years; teaching full time as a professor at the University of Washington in Seattle, beginning in 1993; the importance of stressing both technique and creativity; his joy at watching the development of his students; transitions in his work brought on each decade and through constant travel; the role of globalization in his work; the narrative of the group pieces he has created in recent years; his memory as constant inspiration and more recent projects, including larger, figurative works. Takamori also recalls Victor Babu, Val Cushing, Wayne Higby, Tony Hepburn, Ted Randall, Robert Turner, William Perry, Peter Voulkos, Rudy Autio, David Shaner, Jun Kaneko, Jamie Walker, Doug Jeck, Amie McNeel, Mark Zirpel, Patti Warashina, Viola Frey, Betty Woodman, Elizabeth Brown, Josh DeWeese and others.
Biographical / Historical:
Akio Takamori (1950-2017) was a Japanese American ceramist based in Seattle, Washington.
General:
Originally recorded on 4 sound discs. Reformatted in 2010 as 8 digital wav files. Duration is 7 hr., 51 min.
Provenance:
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.
Occupation:
Ceramicists -- Washington (State) -- Seattle  Search this
Topic:
Asian American art  Search this
Asian American artists  Search this
Japanese American art  Search this
Japanese American artists  Search this
Asian American ceramicists  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Identifier:
AAA.takamo09
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-takamo09

Oral history interview with Patti Warashina

Interviewee:
Warashina, Patti, 1940-  Search this
Interviewer:
Jeck, Doug, 1963-  Search this
Creator:
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Names:
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Extent:
42 Pages (Transcript)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Pages
Sound recordings
Interviews
Date:
2005 September 8
Scope and Contents:
An interview of Patti Warashina conducted 2005 September 8, by Doug Jeck, for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America, at the artist's home and studio, in Seattle, Washington.
Warashina discusses her childhood in Spokane, Washington, as the youngest of three children of Japanese immigrants; her first experience with art, which was working on murals in elementary school; getting through school by doing visual art projects, including one on fashion design for a French class; her great-grandmother who sold pottery and rice off a cart in her native Japan; her working processes and moving from high-fire to low-fire glazes, as well as dealing with color and decoration in her work; making increasingly larger pieces and thus discovering more surfaces on which to paint; learning how to make hand-built pieces, and in general learning how to control her material; spending her early years working in a vacuum because she was busy raising a family during the day and working in the studio all night; the influence of Surrealism, the Funk movement, and the Chicago Hairy Who on her work; her love of clay as a medium because it presents challenges and technical variables that keep the work interesting; the status of clay as a valid artistic material, and how that has changed over the course of art history; her own personal definition of art as something that "raises your blood pressure," and what makes a "a good pot into a work of art instead of just a pot"; the difference between her early and later work, which she calls cumulative process; her move to the figure, which came naturally out of her earlier work and was in keeping with the Surrealist images to which she was so attracted; recent series of her work, including Mile Post Queens, and Sake Sets: The Drunken Power Series; the role of the figure in her work and the unique challenges they present; being a self-proclaimed "news junkie" and listening to jazz while she works; spending 30 years teaching and the influence it had on her career; her mother as a strong influence and role model in her life, as well as her mother's interest in crafts and gardening; and the influence of artists such as Hieronymous Bosch, René Magritte and Joan Miró on her work. Warashina recalls Robert Sperry, Fred Bauer, Peter Voulkos, Robert Arneson, Toshiko Takaezu, Henry Takemoto, Garth Clark, Howard Cotler, Matthew Kangas, Warren McKenzie, Nan McKinnell, Bernard Leach, Shoji Hamada, Soetsu Yanagi, and others.
Biographical / Historical:
Patti Warashina is a Japanese American ceramicist and sculptor. She was born in 1940 as Masae Patricia Warashina in Spokane, Washington to third generation Japanese emigrants. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Washington, Seattle, where she studied with sculptors Robert Sperry, Harold Myers, Rudy Autio, Shoji Hamada, Shinsaku Hamada, and Ruth Penington. She received her first solo exhibition in 1962 at the Phoenix Art Gallery in Seattle the same year she graduated with an M.F.A. from the University of Washington. Warashina later married fellow student Fred Bauer and from 1964 to 1970 exhibited as Patti Bauer.
General:
Originally recorded on 3 sound discs. Reformatted in 2010 as 5 digital wav files. Duration is 1 hr., 54 min.
Provenance:
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.
Occupation:
Ceramicists -- Washington (State) -- Seattle  Search this
Topic:
Pottery -- Technique  Search this
Decorative arts  Search this
Asian American art  Search this
Asian American artists  Search this
Asian American women artists  Search this
Japanese American art  Search this
Japanese American artists  Search this
Japanese American women artists  Search this
Asian American sculptors  Search this
Asian American ceramicists  Search this
Women artists  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Identifier:
AAA.warash05
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-warash05

Patti Warashina papers

Creator:
Warashina, Patti, 1940-  Search this
Names:
Lee Nordness Galleries  Search this
Currier, Anne, 1950-  Search this
Kottler, Howard, 1930-1989  Search this
Lipofsky, Marvin, 1938-2016  Search this
Lucero, Michael, 1953-  Search this
Sperry, Robert, 1927-1998  Search this
Extent:
4.8 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Video recordings
Photographs
Date:
circa 1900-1991
bulk 1970-1989
Summary:
The papers of ceramicist and sculptor Patti Warashina (b. 1940) date from circa 1900 and 1957 through 1991, bulk 1970-1989. The collection consists of 4.8 linear feet of correspondence and printed material reflecting the many ceramic and craft exhibitions and other projects Warashina participated in throughout the United States, and her associations with other ceramicists. Also included are biographical documents, writings, art works, several photographs, and a video.
Scope and Content Note:
The Patti Warashina papers measure 4.8 linear feet and date from circa 1900 and 1957 through 1991 (bulk 1970-1989). The collection documents the artistic and teaching career of Seattle-based sculptor and ceramicist Patti Warashina predominantly through correspondence and printed material reflecting the many ceramic and craft exhibitions and other projects Warashina participated in throughout the United States, and her associations with other ceramicists. Also included are biographical documents, writings, art works, several photographs, and a video.

Biographical material includes family trees, diplomas, awards, and documents relating to Warashina's family Japanese internment during WWII. Correspondence, 1968-1991, relating to exhibitions and other projects, is with galleries, museums, purchasers, publishers, and others, among them the Lee Nordness Gallery (N.Y.), Morgan Gallery (Kansas City), and Theo Portney Gallery (Seattle). Additional correspondence files contain letters received, 1977-1990, many addressed to Warashina and her husband Bob (Robert Sperry), from friends, colleagues, former students and family members, including Nancy Carmen, Anne Currier, Deborah Horrell, Matthew Kangas, Howard Kottler, Marvin Lipofsky, Michael Lucero, and others.

Ten photographs, circa 1900-1944, are portraits of Warashina's relatives and family, and several snapshots, circa 1970s, are of former students and works of art. Printed material, 1961-1990, includes newspaper and magazine clippings, programs, journals, newsletters, exhibition announcements, exhibition catalogs, and workshop announcements for Warashina's various sculpture and ceramic lectures. Writings include both published and unpublished works by Warashina, including an artist's statement for a possible lecture at the 1986 conference of the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA). Also found here are handwritten notes on a panel discussion titled Cultural and Racial Heritage: Sources and Imagery in which Warashina was a participant along with artists Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson, María Brito Avellana, and Indira Johnson. Art work consists of blue line drawings for her sculpture "Red Earth," 1986 as well as a pen and ink sketch of Warashina by an unidentified artist. A videocassette, 1987, is of the television program "The Big A: Different Ways of Seeing", in which Warashina appears briefly.
Arrangement:
The Patti Warashina papers are arranged as seven series based primarily on type of material. The correspondence in Series 2 is arranged chronologically for exhibitions and projects and general letters received. Additional letters received are arranged by name of author.

Series 1: Biographical Material, 1974-1991, undated (Box 1; 3 folders)

Series 2: Correspondence, 1957, 1967-1991, undated (Boxes 1-3; 2.0 linear feet)

Series 3: Photographs, circa 1900- circa 1959, 1971, undated (Box 3; 3 folders)

Series 4: Printed Material, 1961-1990, undated (Boxes 3-6, OV 7; 2.0 linear feet)

Series 5: Writings and Notes, 1984, 1986, 1989, undated (Box 6; 4 folders)

Series 6: Artwork, 1986, undated (Box 6; 2 folders)

Series 7: Miscellany, 1987, undated (Box 6; 2 folders)
Biographical Note:
Patti Warashina is a Japanese American ceramicist and sculptor. She was born in 1940 as Masae Patricia Warashina in Spokane, Washington to third generation Japanese emigrants. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Washington, Seattle, where she studied with sculptors Robert Sperry, Harold Myers, Rudy Autio, Shoji Hamada, Shinsaku Hamada, and Ruth Penington. She received her first solo exhibition in 1962 at the Phoenix Art Gallery in Seattle the same year she graduated with an M.F.A. from the University of Washington. Warashina later married fellow student Fred Bauer and from 1964 to 1970 exhibited as Patti Bauer.

Influences in Warashina's art include California funk and sculptural ceramics. Her work is best known for its whimsical themes expressed through low-fire highly colored figurative images. Together with fellow artists Robert Sperry, Howard Kottler and Fred Bauer, she brought national recognition to the department of ceramics at the University of Washington's School of Art beginning in the 1980s.

Patti Warashina is a recipient of several awards for achievements in the field of crafts, most recently the Twining Humber Award granted by Seattle's Artists Trust in 2002. She received the Governor's Award of Special Commendation for the Arts in 1980 in addition to grants from the National Endowment for the Arts in both 1975 and 1986. In 1978, Warashina was awarded a World Craft Council Travel Grant which allowed her to conduct research on the ceramic arts process in Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Bali and the Philippines. Warashina's teaching career spans over 30 years and includes positions at the University of Wisconsin, Eastern Michigan University, and at her alma mater where she has taught for over 25 years. Her work is featured in several museum collections in both the U.S. and abroad including the American Craft Museum in New York, the Seattle Art Museum and Henry Art Gallery, the Smithsonian American Art Museum's Renwick Gallery (Washington, DC), the Art Gallery of Western Australia, and the Ichon World Ceramic Center in Korea. Since her marriage to ceramicist Robert Sperry in 1976, she has used Patti Warashina as her professional name. Patti Warashina is a resident of Seattle, Washington.
Provenance:
The Patti Warashina papers were donated by the artist to the Archives of American Art in 1991.
Restrictions:
The collection is open for research. Use requires an appointment.
Rights:
The Archives of American Art makes its archival collections available for non-commercial, educational and personal use unless restricted by copyright and/or donor restrictions, including but not limited to access and publication restrictions. AAA makes no representations concerning such rights and restrictions and it is the user's responsibility to determine whether rights or restrictions exist and to obtain any necessary permission to access, use, reproduce and publish the collections. Please refer to the Smithsonian's Terms of Use for additional information.
Occupation:
Ceramicists -- Washington (State) -- Seattle  Search this
Sculptors -- Washington (State) -- Seattle  Search this
Topic:
Japanese American families -- Photographs  Search this
Asian American art  Search this
Asian American artists  Search this
Asian American women artists  Search this
Japanese American art  Search this
Japanese American artists  Search this
Japanese American women artists  Search this
Asian American sculptors  Search this
Asian American ceramicists  Search this
Women artists  Search this
Genre/Form:
Video recordings
Photographs
Citation:
Patti Warashina papers, circa 1990-1991, bulk 1970-1989. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.warapatt
See more items in:
Patti Warashina papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-warapatt
Online Media:

Akio Takamori papers

Creator:
Takamori, Akio, 1950-  Search this
Names:
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Extent:
0.4 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Date:
[ca.1981-2003]
Scope and Contents:
Catalogs, exhibition invitations, magazine articles, correspondence, and sketches by Takamori.
Biographical / Historical:
Akio Takamori (1950-2017) was a Japanese American ceramicist based in Seattle, Washington.
Provenance:
Donated 2004 by Akio Takamori as part of the Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.
Rights:
Authorization to publish, quote, or reproduce requires written permission from Akio Takamori. Contact Reference Services for more information.
The Archives of American Art makes its archival collections available for non-commercial, educational and personal use unless restricted by copyright and/or donor restrictions, including but not limited to access and publication restrictions. AAA makes no representations concerning such rights and restrictions and it is the user's responsibility to determine whether rights or restrictions exist and to obtain any necessary permission to access, use, reproduce and publish the collections. Please refer to the Smithsonian's Terms of Use for additional information.
Occupation:
Ceramicists -- Washington (State) -- Seattle  Search this
Topic:
Asian American art  Search this
Asian American artists  Search this
Decorative arts  Search this
Japanese American art  Search this
Japanese American artists  Search this
Asian American ceramicists  Search this
Identifier:
AAA.takaakio
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-takaakio

Oral history interview with Robert Sperry

Interviewee:
Sperry, Robert, 1927-1998  Search this
Interviewer:
Harrington, LaMar, 1917-2005  Search this
Names:
Voulkos, Peter, 1924-2002  Search this
Extent:
75 Pages (Transcript)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Pages
Sound recordings
Interviews
Date:
1983 August 11
Scope and Contents:
An interview of Robert Sperry conducted 1983 August 11, by LaMar Harrington, for the Archives of American Art's Northwest Oral History Project.
Sperry speaks of his family background; his army service; his education; his early career in ceramics; the Oriental influence in his work; folk art; his contemporaries in ceramics; and his current plans. He recalls Peter Voulkos.
Biographical / Historical:
Robert Sperry (1927-1998) was a ceramist from Seattle, Washington.
General:
Originally recorded on 3 sound cassettes. Reformatted in 2010 as 6 digital wav files. Duration is 3 hr., 4 min.
Provenance:
This interview is part of the Archives' Northwest Oral History Project, begun in 1982 to document the Northwest artistic community through interviews with painters, sculptors, craftsmen, educators, curators, and others, in Oregon, Washington and Montana.
Topic:
Folk art  Search this
Ceramics  Search this
Art, American -- Northwestern States  Search this
Ceramicists -- Washington (State) -- Seattle -- Interviews  Search this
Decorative arts  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Identifier:
AAA.sperry83
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-sperry83

Robert Sperry papers

Creator:
Sperry, Robert, 1927-1998  Search this
Names:
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
University of Washington -- Faculty  Search this
Warashina, Patti, 1940-  Search this
Extent:
13.6 Linear feet
0.907 Gigabytes
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Gigabytes
Motion pictures (visual works)
Transcripts
Interviews
Sketches
Drawings
Photographs
Scrapbooks
Videotapes
Date:
1951-2002
Summary:
The papers of ceramicist Robert Sperry measure 13.6 linear feet and 0.907 GB and date from 1951-2002. The collection documents Sperry's career as an artist, teacher, and filmmaker through biographical information, correspondence, exhibition files, gallery files, material on projects and workshops, writings, a scrapbook, financial files, printed and digital material, photographs, moving image materials, and artwork.
Scope and Content Note:
The papers of ceramicist Robert Sperry measure 13.6 linear feet and 0.907 GB and date from 1951-2002. The collection documents Sperry's career as an artist and teacher through biographical information, correspondence, exhibition files, gallery files, material on projects and workshops, writings, a scrapbook, financial files, printed and digital material, photographs, video recordings, films, and artwork.

Biographical files contain items outlining Sperry's career including resumes, teaching evaluations, awards, and interviews. Correspondence includes general correspondence with family, friends, colleagues, schools, galleries, art organizations, and publications as well as named files for those with whom Sperry exchanged a significant amount of correspondence over a long period of time. The Exhibition Files contain materials on group and solo exhibitions Robert Sperry participated in, while Gallery Files hold material, such as correspondence and contracts, related to the galleries which exhibited Sperry's work primarily after 1979. The Project and Workshop Files in Series 5 contain material related to public commissions he completed and workshops he gave during the 1980s and 1990s.

Writings encompass writings by Sperry and others. Sperry's writings vary greatly and include drafts of articles, a family history, poetry, notes and a screenplay, while writings by others are primarily essays on art. Within this series Sperry's event calendars are also found. Sperry compiled a scrapbook which spans 1955 to 1964 and includes correspondence and printed material about exhibitions and newspaper clippings which feature his artwork. He and his wife, Patti Warashina, also compiled Financial Records primarily of their business and living expenses from 1976 to 1984 and earnings as artists and professors at the University of Washington.

The largest series in this collection, Printed Material, provides information largely on Sperry's career through press clippings, exhibition announcements, catalogs, and publications, and also includes other materials on ceramics in general. The Photographs series contains both photos and negatives from Sperry's trip to Japan to film "Village Potters of Onda" as well as photographs of his artwork and his family. Also found in this collection are a few sketches and drawings by Sperry and one drawing by Patti Warashina. Moving image material includes video recordings and motion picture film with a wide range of content, including documentaries about Sperry, studio footage, and experimental and narrative films created by Sperry in a range of styles and genres, including animation such as the animated film "Henry," hand colored film, live action footage, abstract design, and narrative short films by Sperry. There are digital research copies of some of the films.
Arrangement:
The Robert Sperry papers are arranged as thirteen series, according to type of material. Each series is arranged either in rough chronological or alphabetical order.

Series 1: Biographical Files, 1954-circa 2000, undated (Box 1; 0.3 linear feet)

Series 2: Correspondence Files, 1951-2000, undated (Boxes 1-2; 0.9 linear feet)

Series 3: Exhibition Files, 1963-1999, undated (Boxes 2-3; 1.2 linear feet)

Series 4: Gallery Files, 1960-2000, undated (Boxes 3-4; 0.8 linear feet)

Series 5: Project and Workshop Files, 1967-1996, undated (Box 4; 0.4 linear feet)

Series 6: Writings, 1966-1990, undated (Box 5; 0.5 linear feet)

Series 7: Scrapbook, 1955-1964 (Box 5; 8 folders)

Series 8: Financial Records, 1961-1995, undated (Boxes 5-6; 1.0 linear feet)

Series 9: Miscellaneous Subject Files, 1975-1998, undated (Box 6; 0.2 linear feet)

Series 10: Printed Material, 1955-2002, undated (Boxes 6-10; 3.4 linear feet)

Series 11: Photographs, 1963, undated (Box 10; 0.2 linear feet)

Series 12: Sketches and Drawings, 1984, undated (Box 10; 2 folders)

Series 13: Moving Image Material, circa 1962-1998, undated (Boxes 10-12, FC 13-18; 3.1 linear feet, ER01; 0.907 GB)
Biographical Note:
Robert Sperry was born in Bushnell, Illinois, in 1927. He grew up on his family's farm in Druid, Saskatchewan, Canada, and in 1945 was drafted into the U.S. Army, where he first developed an interest in art. After serving in the military, he returned home and completed his B.A. at the University of Saskatchewan in 1950 and a B.F.A. at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1953. While working on his B.A. he met and married Edyth MacDonald and they had one child, Van, in 1950. Sperry spent one summer as Artist in Residence at the Archie Bray Foundation, in Helena, Montana, and then moved his family to Seattle so that he could complete his M.F.A. at the University of Washington. After graduating in 1955 he stayed at the University and became a professor, teaching ceramics until retiring in 1982. During this time, Sperry widely exhibited his clay vessels in both group and solo exhibitions and was active in the American Craft Council.

When not teaching, Robert Sperry pursued his interest in photography and filmmaking and, in 1963, traveled to Japan to make "Village Potters of Onda," a project that included a documentary film and a collection of black and white photographs. Sperry continued experimenting with film and, in 1967, created a fictional film entitled, "Profiles Cast Long Shadows," which was shown at film festivals throughout the United States. After abandoning another film project in 1970 while going through a divorce, he returned to ceramics as his focus. During the 1970s Sperry developed his techniques, modifying glazes and moving away from the vessel shape. In 1976 Sperry married Patti Warashina, fellow ceramicist and professor at the University of Washington. He began producing murals, which led to several public commissions such as a mural for the IBM Field Engineering Educational Center in Atlanta, created in 1983. Robert Sperry: A Retrospective, was exhibited in 1985-1986 at the Bellevue Art Museum, however, Sperry would continue producing and exhibiting new work, and giving lectures and workshops for thirteen more years, until his death in 1998.
Related Material:
Also found in the Archives of American Art are the Patti Warashina papers, circa 1900-1991. An online finding aid is available.
Provenance:
The Robert Sperry papers were donated by Sperry's wife Patti Warashina in 2003 and 2004.
Restrictions:
The collection is open for research. Use requires an appointment.
Rights:
The Archives of American Art makes its archival collections available for non-commercial, educational and personal use unless restricted by copyright and/or donor restrictions, including but not limited to access and publication restrictions. AAA makes no representations concerning such rights and restrictions and it is the user's responsibility to determine whether rights or restrictions exist and to obtain any necessary permission to access, use, reproduce and publish the collections. Please refer to the Smithsonian's Terms of Use for additional information.
Topic:
Works of art  Search this
Filmmakers  Search this
Potters -- Japan  Search this
Ceramicists -- Washington (State)  Search this
Ceramics -- Study and teaching  Search this
Genre/Form:
Motion pictures (visual works)
Transcripts
Interviews
Sketches
Drawings
Photographs
Scrapbooks
Videotapes
Citation:
Robert Sperry papers, 1951-2002. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.sperrobe
See more items in:
Robert Sperry papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-sperrobe

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