Oral Histories

Interview of Paul Soldner

Ceramics artist known for a Japanese-influenced American raku style.
Vessels of Celebration
Interviews not in a series, part one
Biographical Note:
Ceramics artist known for a Japanese-influenced American raku style.
Levin, Elaine
Soldner, Paul
Persons Present:
Paul Soldner; Elaine Levin; Jeff Levin, Elaine's son and friend of Soldner, was intermittently present.
Place Conducted:
Levin's apartment in Los Angeles, California.
Supporting Documents:
Records relating to the interview are located in the office of the UCLA Library's Center for Oral History Research.
Interviewer Background and Preparation:
The interview was conducted by Elaine Levin, Oral History Program, UCLA; B.A., art, Grinnell College; teaching credential, San Fernando Valley State College; M.A., art, California State University, Northridge.
Processing of Interview:
Constance Bullock, librarian at UCLA, edited the interview. Richard Candida Smith, principal editor, review edited the interview transcript and wrote the introduction.D. P. Gist, assistant editor, assembled the index, table of contents, and interview history.
4 hrs.
Regents of the University of California, UCLA Library.
Early art influences; teaching art in Ohio public schools; marriage; earning teaching degree; University of Colorado master's program in art education; decision to become a potter and an artist; Otis Art Institute; exploring the Los Angeles art community with Peter Voulkos; manufacturing wheels; dominant values in 1950s Southern California ceramics; Peter Voulkos's ceramic work and artistic evolution; growing Asian influence on Southern California ceramics; student artists; Aspen Studio Project; teaching at Scripps College; redesigning the Scripps ceramic lab; experiments in kiln building; discovering raku; demonstration at Scripps by Japanese Bizen potter influences Soldner; experimentation in matte effects, glazes, calligraphy; return to Aspen; teaching at the University of Colorado and University of Iowa; incorporation of social themes into ceramic decoration; full professorship at Scripps with modifications; definitions of raku; demonstration workshops at universities and overseas; Kiln Construction, Soldner's pamphlet, gains international recognition; ceramics, art or craft?; alternative tools; salt lisquing; flashing; Soldner's artistic and teaching goals.