Katherine E. Sandnas ~ Mutti
Katherine Sandnas is an internationally-recognized ceramic artist. An impressive yet reserved woman, she is a remarkable blend of cross-cultural and historical experiences.
Integrity and purpose guide Katherine in her endeavors, whether she’s creating artwork, digging in her garden, teaching, or preparing a meal. Born in Minnesota in the early 1950’s, she began her relationship with the visual arts at an early age, experimenting in many mediums. She later began working with clay, establishing a steadfast commitment in the ceramic arts.
Her education began at Hibbing Community College with instructor William Goodman, a mentor and powerful influence. Goodman received his MFA at the University of Wisconsin-Madison; ceramics is only one of his specialties. Katherine completed her Bachelor of Fine Art from the University of Minnesota, Duluth. During graduate school at the University of Wisconsin-Superior, Katherine received a fellowship to study ceramic art in Japan. Her dedication and love for Japan, the culture and its people provided a wellspring of educational and artistic resources, and friendships. The fellowship included working with several of Japan’s Living National Treasures, master potters, visiting ancient firing sites, museums, and galleries. In the following years, she returned to Japan for artist and guest artist residencies at the Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park and for exhibitions in Hiroshima, Kyoto, and Tokyo.
Katherine’s work in Japan strengthened her convictions regarding cross-cultural experiences in the arts, it directed and enhanced her life and work. Upon returning to the United States, she received a Jerome Fellowship to work and study with artist Richard Bresnahan, a legendary American teacher/potter from St. John’s University, Collegeville, MN. Richard apprenticed for five years in Japan with the Nakazato family in southern Japan. In more recent years Katherine has been researching, exhibiting, and teaching in Thailand.
Katherine has synthesized her cross-cultural, and prehistoric influences into an artistic expression that continues to grow. Primitive figures, vessels, and reliefs are her signature. Her artwork is most often glaze-free in an almost casual manner which express a primal and organic narrative. Katherine’s devotion to the human condition, and in particular the female form, is a study devoted to the sacredness, beauty, mystery, and calming effects found in the feminine form.
The incredible body of work Katherine has created, includes two and three-dimensional work in clay, bronze, and iron. Her works are exhibited in American and Asian museums and institutions.
A unique blend of cultural and historical influences is evident in Katherine’s approach to life, clay, and teaching. Anyone reflecting on her work recognizes that she is at peace with self, totally committed to her work, and at one with her medium. This quiet unity of artist and material is a rare and powerful vision to behold.
Katherine enriches and inspires the lives of her students and fellow artists. Through her work and life, she encourages them to live with greater commitment and to listen, learn, and create through their life’s experiences and lessons. She is an educator who has worked and studied in a variety of cultural settings, she believes the real testament of her accomplishment as an artist and teacher is in the lives she has touched.