Sequoia MillerImage Gallery

Contact Details

Studio: Swimming Deer Pottery, 7631 Brown Road, SW Olympia, WA 98512, USA, .
Telephone: (360) 357-6171
Fax: (360) 753 7429

Last Updated: 2011-06-14

Artist's Statement

Artist's Statement

Making pottery is a way for me to ask questions of form, surface, domestic space, the body and utility. As a studio potter I can explore these ideas over time, with the consistent, steady output of work required by a self-supporting artist.

I find evolution and contemplation in my work through the process of working not in complement to it. The act of making becomes the way that I alter my understanding of what pottery means, and what it can signify. Something as basic and simple as a cup operates at myriad levels, from the archetypal to the mundane. Making pots that cultivate my expanding perception of these levels, as well as discovering means of activating each level as a carrier of information, is my work as a potter.

Each pot represents a snapshot of my thinking at a given moment. The pot is very much the physical trace of an event, a set of questions. In a sense people don't live with actual pots - they live with the exploration, of which the pot is an artifact.

Functional pottery is unique in its intimacy as a means of aesthetic experience. What other artwork do you bring to your lips and slide your tongue across? Pots fold into our everyday lives, with this unassuming complexity that makes it welcome where more stubborn, intellectual art forms are not.

Technical Information

Technical Information

I work alone in my studio on a wooden treadle wheel, crafted by Doug Gates in North Carolina. My studio is next to my house. Behind the studio I have gas kiln where I fire nearly all of my work. I use a dark stoneware clay, and mix up traditional glazes akin to ones developed in Japan and China centuries ago.

I begin nearly every piece on my potters' wheel. Many of my pots are faceted. This is where I slice a blade or wire through an extra thick clay wall, leaving an arcing flat surface. This creates a series of planes and angles, which I find very engaging.

I also alter many wheel-thrown forms. Altering is any type of pushing or squeezing of a round pot to make a different shape. Many of my pots begin round, but end up square, six sided or flat.

I love making a wide variety of different forms: jars, teapots, and vases as well as cups and bowls. Each has a different type of complexity that engages a different part of my imagination.



My first clay classes were as a youth with Toby Rosenberg, a potter in Portland, Maine.

I began in clay in earnest some years later, after graduating from college, when I came across Mark Shapiro, a potter in western Massachusetts. Mark encouraged me to study at Penland School in North Carolina, where before long I was there learning from Douglass Rankin & Will Ruggles.

Douglass & Will are the potters who awoke in me a meaningful way of understanding pots. They introduced me to the art and philosophy of mingei, or the Japanese folk-craft movement. They are for me a direct link to the work of Shoji Hamada, Bernard Leach, and Warren MacKenzie. Douglass and Will also introduced me to the process of wood-firing.

Since that formative experience, I have also learned from Michael Simon, Linda Christianson, Nick Joerling, MacKenzie Smith, Terry Gess and Chris Staley. I embrace the act of making as the most effective means of learning. This philosophy was passed on to me by Douglass & Will. My ideas emerge through the continuity of a daily studio practice, rather than in advance of it.


Brandeis University, Bachelor of Arts, Summa cum Laude, 1988-92
Russian Cultural Studies Major, with High Honors

Moscow State Pedagogical University, Moscow, USSR, 1990
Studies in Russian Art History, Language, and Culture

Middlebury College, Middlebury, VT, 1989
Russian Language Immersion


Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, Deer Isle, ME, 1999, 1995
Technical Assistant for Michael Simon, Chris Staley.
Archie Bray Foundation, Helena, MT, 1997
Noborigama wood-fire workshop with Jeanette Rakowski and McKenzie Smith.
Penland School of Crafts, Penland, NC, 1995, 1994
Study with Douglass Rankin & Will Ruggles, McKenzie Smith and Terry Gess,
Technical Assistant for Linda Christianson & Nick Joerling.
Greenwich House Pottery, New York, NY, 1994
Study with Michael Simon, Bruce Winn, Matt Nolen.
Parsons School of Design, New York, NY, 1993
Study with Woody Hughes.


Collections and Grants

Collections and Grants


Noyes Museum of Clay & Glass, Naples, ME
Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Washington, DC
Kirkland Hospital Center, Kirkland, WA
Seward Park Art Studio, Seattle, WA

Grants and Awards

Best Functional Purchase Award, Washington Ceramics Showcase, 2001
Bishop & Merritt Scholarship Grant, Haystack School of Crafts, 1999, 1995
Juror's Choice, Best of Show, Washington Potters Association Annual Invitational, 1998
Members' Choice, 2nd Prize, Washington Potters Association Annual Invitational, 1997
Olympia Arts Commission & City of Olympia Grant, 1997
Scholarship Grant, Penland School of Crafts, 1995, 1994
Phi Beta Kappa, Brandeis University, 1992
Ford Foundation Fellowship for Brandeis Undergraduates, 1991

Teaching and Publications

Teaching and Publications

"NCECA National", Clay TImes, March/April, 2003
"Sequoia Miller", Up Front feature, Ceramics Monthly, January, 2003
Working with Clay, 2nd ed, Susan Peterson, Thames & Hudson, Fall 2002
"Pots Presented" by Leigh Taylor Mickelson, Ceramics Art & Perception, June 2002
Smashing Glazes, Susan Peterson, Guild Publishing, 2001
The Art of Contemporary American Pottery, Kevin A. Hluch, Krause Publishing, 2001
Cover, Strictly Functional Pottery National Catalog, Spring 2001
"Making a Great Getaway" by Astrid Cerny, UW Daily, October 17, 2002
"East Meets West" by Lee Lawrence, American Style, Spring 2001
"Sequoia Miller" Profile by Sara Cormeny, Ceramics Monthly, November 2000
"Sequoia Miller at Kobo Gallery", calendar feature, the Olympian (WA), October 6, 2000
"25th Anniversary Cup Exhibit at Lill Street Gallery", Clay Times, July/August 2000
"National Teapot Invitational", Up Front, Ceramics Monthly, February 2000
"Talent Shows on King Street", Southern Living, February 2000
"Dulce et Utile" by A. McCollum Algeo, calendar feature, Casco Bay Weekly (ME), March 25, 1999
"Potter shows his global awareness" by Ken Greenleaf, Maine Sunday Telegram, April 4, 1999
"Museum Shops..." by Ray Westbrook, Lubbock (TX) Avalanche-Journal, August 21, 1998
"Pottery Invitational", calendar feature, the Olympian (WA), April 24, 1998
"Quick: Some good art..." by Philip Isaacson, Maine Times, August 1996


Adjunct Professor, South Puget Sound Community College, Olympia, WA, 2000-present
"Sequoia Miller", Mosier Art Center, Burien, WA, 2003
Visiting Artist, Green River Community College, Auburn, WA, 2002
Ceramics Instructor, OPAS Pottery School, Olympia, WA, 1996-2001
Visiting Artist, Maine College of Art, Portland, ME, 2001
"Sequoia Miller", West Seattle Pottery School, WA, 2001
"Thrown & Altered Pots", Palo Alto Art Center, CA, 2001
Visiting Artist, Summit Arts Magnet K-12, Seattle, WA, 1999, 2000, 2001
"Thrown, Altered & Assembled Pottery", So. Seattle Community College, WA, 2000
"Altered Jars & Boxes", Seward Park Art Studio, Seattle, WA, 2000

Selected Exhibitions

Selected Exhibitions

Artwalk, Childhood's End Gallery, Olympia, WA
NCECA Clay National, R.B.Stevenson Gallery, San Diego, CA
Strictly Functional Pottery National, Lancaster, PA
Hundreds of Cups, Santa Fe Clay, NM
Teapot Show, Northwest by Northwest Gallery, Canon Beach, OR

June Fitzpatrick Gallery, Portland, ME (solo show)
Kobo Gallery, Seattle, WA (solo show)
Mingei in the Northwest, Glenn Richards (gallery), Seattle, WA
Cup Invitational 2002, Fifth Element Gallery, Portland, OR
For The Table Dinnerware Invitational, Santa Fe Clay, NM
Functional Ceramics 2002, Wayne Center for the Arts, Wooster, OH (catalog)
Pots Presented, Baltimore Clayworks, Baltimore, MD
Stoneware for Daily Rituals, Red Star Studios, Kansas City, MO
International Cone Box Show, Baker Univ., Baldwin City, KS & traveling
Tea Party Invitational, Bainbridge Arts & Crafts, Bainbridge Is, WA
Artist Trust Benefit Exhibit, Bank of America Gallery, Seattle, WA

June Fitzpatrick Gallery, Portland, ME (solo show)
Turtle Gallery, Deer Isle, ME (solo show)
The Works Gallery, Philadelphia, PA (solo show)
Invitational & Juried Group Exibits
Sequoia Miller & Sam Taylor, Iowa Artisans Gallery, Iowa City, IA
Ceramics Northwest Invitational, Museum of the Rockies, Bozeman, MT
Strictly Functional Pottery National, Museum of Art, Lancaster, PA
Le Grand Buffet, Clay Studio, Philadelphia, PA
Inaugural Invitational, Seward Park Art Studio/Columbia City, Seattle, WA
Incarnations, Gayle Willson Gallery, Southampton, NY
Plate & Platter Invitational, Lill St. Gallery, Chicago, IL
Honoring the Mug, Cedar Creek Gallery, Creedmoor, NC
Faculty Exhibit, South Puget Sound Community College, Olympia, WA
Mingei in the Northwest, Glenn Richards (gallery), Seattle, WA

June Fitzpatrick Gallery, Portland, ME (solo show)
Kobo Gallery, Seattle, WA (solo show)
Focus on Function, Nash Gallery, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN (catalog)
Northwest Iinternational Art Competition, Whatcom Museum, Bellingham, WA
Craft National 34, Zoller Gallery, Penn State University, State College, PA
Vessels That Pour, Vermont Clay Studio, Waterbury Center, VT
Winterfest 2000, Baltimore Clayworks, Baltimore, MD
25th Anniversary Cup Invitational, Lill Street Gallery, Chicago, IL
Fine & Useful, Turtle Gallery, Deer Isle, ME
Gallery Artists NCECA Show, MacLaren/Markowitz Gallery, Boulder, CO
Containers, Texas Technical University, Lubbock, TX
Atmospheric Pots, Santa Fe Pottery, Santa Fe, NM
International Cone Box Show, Baker Univ., Baldwin City, KS & traveling

June Fitzpatrick Gallery, Portland, ME (solo show)
Ceramics Monthly International Competition, Columbus, OH (catalog)
Northwest International Art Competition, Whatcom Museum, Bellingham, WA
Biennial Review of NW Art & Craft, Oregon College of Art & Craft, Portland, OR
National Teapot Invitational V, Cedar Creek Gallery, Creedmoor, NC
Winterfest, Baltimore Clayworks, Baltimore, MD
Pacific Tides Influence of the Pacific Rim on Contemporary US Ceramics, Lancaster, PA
Washington Potters' Association Annual Invitational, Seattle, WA
Work of the Hand, Maine Coast Artists, Rockport, ME
Curator, Beyond the Northwest Teapot Invitational, Kobo Gallery, Seattle, WA

Kobo Gallery, Seattle, WA (solo show)
Turtle Gallery, Deer Isle, ME (solo show)
A Decade Of Potters, Whatcom Museum, Bellingham, WA
Teapot Invitational, Artique Gallery, Anchorage, AK
Pottery Invitational, Glenn Richards (gallery), Seattle, WA
Texas Technical University Ceramics Invitational, Lubbock, TX
Orton International Cone Box Show, Baldwin City, KS & traveling

Work Styles

Work Styles

Vases & Bowls
Kitchen & Tableware