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John Balistreri

Biography to Display: 

1962 Born


1982 AA Business, Colorado Mountain College, Leadville, Colorado

1986 BFA Ceramics, Kansas City Art Institute, Kansas City, Missouri

1988 MFA Ceramics Kent State University, Kent, Ohio


1992-1993 Instructor, School of Art and Art History, University of Denver, Denver, Colorado

1995 Instructor Summer Program, Department of Art, Front Range Community College, Denver, Colorado

1996-2001 Assistant Professor, School of Art, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio

2002-2008 Associate Professor, School of Art, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio

2009—Professor, School of Art, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio


 John Balistreri is known for  smaller functional works that beginning in 1984 were fired in a wood kiln; sometimes with the addition of salt. In a move away from the traditional functional wood-fired works he began making  monumental sculptures finished with a broad palette of bright colors. The monumental sculptures are constructed using numerous elements which reference the vessel and human figure. Balistreri's sculptures reveal his interest in cultures, ancient ethnic structures, and Cubism.

Balistreri used the airplane and sail boat forms in a series. He states: “…My interest in these forms stems from their familiarity and relevance to our society, but also in their inherent beauty as objects…” Balistreri worked for a time in Jun Kaneko’s studio in Omaha, Nebraska where he had access to Kaneko’s very large kiln.


Balistreri and his students at Bowling Green State University have done extensive research, and trial and error experiments to develop the rapid prototyping process that allowed the conversion of digital files using a 3d printer into three-dimensional ceramic objects. He has explored this process in depth with the tea bowl form. First, a tea bowl is thrown in the traditional manner, then it is digitally scanned and finally digitally reproduced.

Public Collections

Public Collections to Display: 

American Museum of Ceramic Art, Pomona, California

Ancient Nanfeng Kiln Museum, Foshan, China

Canton Museum pf Art, Canton, Ohio

Daum Museum of Contemporary Art, Sedalia, Missouri

Frederick R Weisman Museum of Art, Malibu, California

Kaneko Experimental Work Space, Omaha, Nebraska

Kansas City Art Institute, Kansas City, Missouri

Shiwan Treasure Pottery Museum, Foshan, China


Bibliography to Display: 

Balistreri, John. “Creating Ceramic Art Using the Rapid Prototyping Process.” Studio Potter 36 no. 2 (2008).

____________. “Wood Firing and American Iconography.” NCECA Journal 23 (2003).

____________. “Peter Voulkos: An Affirmation of Art and Life.” Ceramics Art and Perception 48 (2002).

____________. “Peter Voulkos.” Studio Potter 30 no.2 (2002).

____________. “John Balistreri on Peter Voulkos.” Chinese Potters News Letter (2002).

Bates, Megan. “John Balistreri: A Personal Artistic Anthropology.” Ceramics: Art and Perception 51 (2003).

Beach, Polly. “Individuality in Clay: A Weekend with the Masters.” Clay Times 48 (2002).

Ferguson, Ken and Jane Masters. “Taking Chances: Wood Firing with John Balistreri.” Ceramics Monthly (February 1992).

Galloway, Julia and Ray Hemachandra. 500 Vases: Contemporary Explorations of a Timeless Form. New York, NY: Lark Crafts, 2010.

Gunter, Veronica Alice. 500 Figures in Clay: Ceramics Artists Celebrate the Human Form. Asheville, NC: Lark Books, 2004.

Hunt, Bill. 21st Century Ceramics in America and Canada. Columbus, OH: The American Ceramics Society, 2003.

Leedy, Jim. “Wood Firing Dialogue, an Interview with John Balistreri.” Ceramics Monthly (1996).

Palamar, Colette. “John Balistreri’s Reflection on the Fire.” Ceramics: Art and Perception 32 (1998).

Peterson, Susan. The Art and Craft of Clay, 4th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall Inc., 2003.

_____________. Contemporary Ceramics. London, England: Calmann & King LTD, 2003.

_____________. Working with Clay. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, Inc.,1998.

Tourtillot, J E Suzanne. 500 Ceramic Sculptures: Contemporary Practice and Singular Works. New York, NY: Lark Books, 2004.




Center for CraftCenter For Craft



AMOCA American Museum of Ceramic ArtAMOCA American Museum of Ceramic Art


Typical Marks

"Balistreri" plus date

Date: 2010
Materials: Porcelain
Method: Thrown
Surface Technique: Glaze
Photo: Chris Rupp
Photo: Chris Rupp
Photo: Chris Rupp
El Corazon
Date: 2014
Form: Sculpture
Materials: Stoneware
Method: Hand-Built
Surface Technique: Slip
Photo: TMP

Citation: Clark, Donald. "The Marks Project." Last modified February 12, 2024.