About The Artist Nancy Zoller
My dialogue with clay began almost 40 years ago. Even now, it seems I have only begun to discover the possibilities available with this lovely material. Clay is fluid and forgiving, translucent and vibrant when glaze is applied and then the atmosphere is correct in the kiln as it fires. Clay can be pushed, pulled, stamped, carved and altered. All of these qualities are the reason I hope to spend the next 40 years exploring clay.
Graduating from Arizona State University in 1975 gave me just a taste of formal art training as I earned my BA in Art Education. I built my first downdraft gas kiln that graduation year and set up my pottery studio. The continuation of my training after college involved observing other potters that I admired and attending clay workshops. Cynthia Bringle’s work had a lasting impression on me in those early years.
I have been a Colorado resident for the past 25 years loving the Rocky Mountains and all that this area has to offer in the way of inspiration from nature….thus, my work has evolved into the Zoller style finding my brushed leaf or the impression of a leaf, pine branch or sea shell incorporated into each piece. The repeated pattern and graceful lines of nature never seem to grow old.
I work with a white stoneware clay body usually combining wheel throwing with hand building techniques. The pottery is fired in my downdraft gas kiln to temps in excess of 2300 degrees Fahrenheit in a reduction atmosphere.
The primary reward for me in creating a piece of pottery is the fact that my work may be integrated into someone’s daily life experience; at times in a quiet, private moment, or as they interact with other sharing a beverage or a meal. I hope to create pieces of pottery that have a quiet elegance, asking to be touched and used over and over again.
Teaching others to appreciate clay and its possibilities has also been a large part of my life as I have worked to keep my teaching certificate current. Taking breaks from the studio rhythm to visit the school and share my passions for art with others gives me new energy for my own work.
In this age of mass-production and isolationism, I believe that pottery can be instrumental in satisfying a need for comfort and artistic balance in the lives of others….this is my passion.
In the Nov/Dec 2011 issue of Pottery Making Illustrated an article was published by Nancy called, “Making an Impression” Below is a brief introduction to the article.
“Before plaster, going back thousands of years, pottery molds were made from bisqueware. Nancy demonstrates how you can make highly decorative molds in a short period of time from clay. And while she shows a functional piece, the same concept can be used in many ways in the studio from creating sculpture parts to dinnerware sets — all without the plaster mess. ” Order a copy of this issue at, Pottery Making Illustrated
Currently I am a member of Trimble Court Artisans Coop, NCECA, Potters Council and the Steamboat Springs Art Council.