BiographyRagnar Naess was born April 16, 1942. He attended The Putney School from 1957-1960 and graduated from Stanford University with an AB in history in 1964. He also completed a pre-med Core Curriculum in Science there from 1965-66. He studied at Columbia University, the University of California, Berkeley, and San Francisco State College taking summer courses in history and calculus. He received a California State teaching credential in history and chemistry from the University of Santa Clara in 1967. Naess studied with Marguerite Wildenhain at her summer Pond Farm workshops in 1967, 1970 and 1972.
Naess has taught as a guest lecturer and workshop presenter at such institutions as the Banff School of Fine Arts, Columbia University Ceramics Department, the Craft Student’s League, and the Nantucket Island School of Art and Design. He has authored numerous articles in a variety of publications. His work has been featured in exhibitions which have been publicized by publications such as The New York Times, The New Yorker, New York Magazine, and Craft Horizons. Naess has served as a juror for exhibitions and craft shows and participated in the Empty Bowls Project in Brooklyn, NY.
Naess founded his North River Pottery in Brooklyn, New York, in 1973. Previously he had worked in an old chicken coop behind his home in Colrain, MA. The name of his pottery was inspired by the Deerfield River which was behind his Massachusetts home, known in Colrain as the North River. The artist’s statement on Naess’ website says:
I am doing more sculpture in the end of my fourth decade in my workshop. Playfulness is required in the sculpture work day, both in the dreaming and in the making. Sculpture also provides a new realm in which to explore color and texture. My work life alternates between periods of sculpture making and periods making practical pots.
Ceramic works by Naess are in museum collections such as the Renwick Gallery at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., the Newark Museum, and the Art Museum at Arizona State University. He regularly exhibits in galleries and shows around the country. He also as an interest in music, musical instruments, and gardens.
The Gumdrop Teapot which Naess donated to the Pond Farm Collection was created in 2003 of stoneware, wheel-thrown, altered, incised, and fired in an electric kiln. It is part of a family of teapots made by the artist. It is square-shaped with an attached tall strap handle and rectangular spout. It features a green oxide under-glaze with red-brown over it. The teapot rests on four feet.
Source of Biographywww.ragnarclay.citymax.com;
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