|Birth Date: 1945
|Elaine Coleman was born in Long Beach, California, in 1945. She is a ceramicist best known for her work in porcelain and her delicate carving details. Her carvings are soft and fluid, often depicting botanical patterns, frogs, birds, and butterflies. The incised markings create channels in which the glaze on each piece pools, making defined lines across her works. She is married to fellow ceramicist, Tom Coleman. The pair have worked alongside each other and collaborated artistically for decades. Elaine has developed a mastery of celadon glazes, many of which have been developed in collaboration with Tom. These glazes differentiate her work and give them an ethereal feel.
In 1964, Elaine met Tom Coleman while they were both attending the Museum Art School (now the Pacific Northwest College of Art) in Portland, Oregon. Elaine attended for a year and a half before withdrawing in order to work while Tom finished school. Elaine still continued to study ceramics and has worked as a studio potter in various locations since 1966.
Elaine and Tom were married in 1967 in Portland, and in 1972, they moved to a farmhouse in Canby, Oregon with their two boys and the couple set up a new pottery studio near their home where they continued to hone their craft. During the 1970s, Elaine did mostly slab work and handbuilt pieces. In 1973, she began teaching at the Oregon School of Arts and Crafts in Portland, OR.
In 1975, she began incising some of Tom’s porcelain pots; this development has resulted in Elaine’s most well known and distinguishable work. In their collaborations, Tom throws all of Elaine’s pieces, and she carves her intricate designs onto the surfaces, often incorporating her signature into the design.
In 1987, the Colemans moved to Las Vegas, Nevada. From 1989-1992, Elaine was the Gallery Director at the Moira James Gallery in Green Valley, Nevada. In 1994, Elaine and Tom established Coleman Clay Studio in Las Vegas. The studio hosted throwing classes, offered private studio spaces, and established a gallery. The couple moved to Henderson, Nevada, in 1995, but continued to use their Las Vegas Studio. In 2000, they closed their Las Vegas studio and relocated it to Henderson, opening the new studio in 2001.
Elaine has been featured in magazine articles and catalogs regularly since the 1980s. Her work has been included in multiple “500” series books published by Lark Books, multiple issues of Studio Potter, publications by Peter Lane, and numerous issues of “Ceramics Monthly''. Elaine and Tom were featured together in the January issue of “Ceramics Monthly,” in 2003.
Elaine has received numerous honors over her career. She won the first place award for the Strictly Functional National Pottery competition in 2008. She was also invited to sit as a guest artist for the Western Colorado Center of the Arts Auction in 2012. Elaine has also been a juror for various competitions including events hosted by VaseFinders.com and Contemporary Clay.
Since the 1980s, Elaine’s work has been extensively exhibited throughout the United States and internationally. Notable exhibitions include the Smithsonian’s Renwick Alliance (now the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Renwick Gallery) in Washington, DC, the San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts, the Peninsula Fine Arts Center, and the Red Lodge Clay Center.
Elaine Coleman’s work can be found in many permanent public collections across the country including the Canton Museum of Art, the Racine Art Museum, the Portland Art Museum, the University of Illinois Permanent Collection, and the Sapporo Sister City Collection in Sapporo, Japan.
Elaine is devoted to sharing her knowledge and techniques through teaching. She regularly leads workshops and classes at studios, clay associations, and universities. She has taught at the Brisbane Clay Guild in Australia, the Xiem Clay Center in California, the Potter’s Council Conference in California, and Walla Walla University in Washington state. In recent years, she has also begun offering recorded online classes. Elaine and Tom still own and operate the Coleman Clay Studio and Gallery, Inc., in Henderson, Nevada where Elaine continues to work as a studio potter.