BiographyJohn Robert Onkka was born in 1948. He graduated from Luther College in 1970 and attended the Pond Farm summer workshop of Marguerite Wildenhain in 1969 to supplement his ceramics education. He also worked with a studio potter in Norway in 1973.
In 1973, he established Onkka Pottery in St. Croix County, Wisconsin, moving the pottery to its present location in Baldwin, Wisconsin, in 1978. His works have been exhibited in numerous venues throughout the Midwest, California, New York, and Utah.
Onkka said in his artist statement: “It is my intent through my work to make individual pieces that may be related to each other by basic elements of design and technique as well as my natural ways of doing things. However, like raising children, each piece also wants to go its own way and there has to be room for that to happen. Within these perimeters I want the pieces to show that indeed the human hand, and specifically may hands made them. My work is straight-forward, unencumbered by trickery or unusual skill.”—Onkka, 2003
The ceramic piece by Onkka in the Fine Arts Collection is part of the Pond Farm Collection. It consists of four clay panels mounted on a wooden back with incised and formed designs suggestive of abstracted land forms. There are green, brown and black glazes on the panels.
Source of BiographyRipples: 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