Susan Harnly Peterson (1925–2009)

Susan Harnly Peterson, ceramic artist, writer, and professor, passed away at home in Scottsdale, Arizona, on March 26, reports Fox Business News. She first began teaching ceramics in 1952 and spent twenty-three years at the University of Southern California. She continued her life as an educator at Hunter College in New York City, retiring from teaching in 1994. Peterson traveled extensively and became an advocate for ceramic arts worldwide. She did workshops and gave lectures in countries as diverse as Japan, Australia, India, China, Sweden, and England and throughout the US, where she brought well-known international ceramic artists to work and teach. During her career, she also helped establish many programs to assist artists, including ceramic departments at Chouinard, USC, Hunter, and the Idyllwild School of Music and the Arts, where she spent summers teaching.

Peterson's writing career began in 1974 with a monograph on the Japanese potter Shoji Hamada; her book on artist Maria Martinez was the best-selling art book of 1978. She was in the process of completing the fifth edition of The Craft and Art of Clay, originally published in 1990, at the time of her death. Peterson received many awards throughout her career, including the Knight of Order of the Lion of Finland (1969), a Fellow of the American Craft Council (1983), the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts Lifetime Achievement Award (1996), and the College of Fine Arts of Arizona State University's Distinguished Achievement Award (1999). In 2002, the Arizona State University Art Museum Ceramics Research Center dedicated the Susan Harnly Peterson Ceramic Research Archive, where much of her expansive personal collection of books, slides, notes, and pottery is available for study.