Biography: Dorothy Herger was born September 20, 1924 in San Francisco, CA but raised in Vallejo, CA. She received her MA degree from the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, CA. In the 1950s she first saw the pottery of Marguerite Wildenhain at Gump’s, a prestigious art collectible store in San Francisco. Inspired by what she saw, she attended the summer workshops organized by Wildenhain from 1951-1960. Ultimately she became a close friend of Wildenhain and always regarded her as a mentor.
Herger taught ceramics at Solano College in Vallejo, CA, from 1948-1983. In recognition of her tenure at Solano College, the Dorothy Herger Gallery was named on the campus in 2000. The gallery is dedicated to the enrichment of the visual arts on the campus, presenting emerging and established artists from the local and regional communities. In 2004, a mural based on a photograph by Herger was unveiled in the gallery and was part of an exhibit which included Herger’s paintings and ceramic sculpture.
Herger is the former Art Director of the Vallejo Naval and Historical Museum and Director of the American School of Pottery in Chateau Double, France. She enjoyed world travel visiting South and Central America, China, Japan, India, and Indonesia. She has been a home studio potter from 1983-2003.
The Bird Bowl made by Herger in the Pond Farm Collection was wheel-thrown with hand-built additions made out of stoneware clay. It was glaze fired at cone 6. The bowl, created in 2001, is in a bird shape with the head turned into the side of the bowl. It features a carved rim and tail feathers with incised decoration denoting feather marks and beak. The exterior is brown with a tan and greenish glaze while the interior is green over a brown glaze.
Herger has commented on her bowl that it was inspired by much “bird watching at the Pacific Ocean beaches.” She observed that “Finding a bird spirit in a simple clay shape has been my lazy direction rather than complex glaze and form solutions.” She also noted that each bird is different.
Source of biography: Ripples: Marguerite Wildenhain and her Pond Farm Students. Curated by Billie Sessions. San Bernardino, CA: California State University, 2002;
Pond Farm Collection: Works of Art Created by Students Who Studied with Marguerite Wildenhain at her Pond Farm Studio. Text by Jane Kemp. Decorah, IA: Luther College, 2003