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Frank Colson

Biography to Display: 

Born 1931 Paris, France

Died 2015 Sarasota, Florida



 1957 BFA Scripps College, Claremont, California

 1959 MS Communications, Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York



 1954-1956 US Army

 1959-1962 Producer and Director, Educational Television, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida

 1963-2015 Colson School of Art, Inc. Sarasota, Florida

 1963 Instructor, University of Tampa, Tampa, Florida

 1963-1973 Instructor, Penland School of Crafts, Penland, North Carolina

 1977-1985 Colson Sculpture Service International, Sarasota, Florida



Frank Colson is known for sculpture in clay, bronze, and mixed media. His signature pieces include flat, mask-like wall pieces and metamorphic representational animals. At Scripps College, Colson studied with Paul Soldner and Richard Petterson.

Colson was inspired by world travels. His own term for his artistic style was “neo-primitive.” Before settling down in Sarasota he had lived in 67 countries and had always found himself drawn to “native artists, particularly those working in clay[1].” Throughout his artistic career Colson worked with clay and bronze and was constantly interested in trying different techniques and materials. Colson claimed his desire to master so many different media came from his strong sense of adventure and the “desire to immerse himself in the mechanical and manual arts[2].”

Colson was born in Paris to a Latvian ballet dancer and an American opera singer. He came to the United States at the age of 4, and was raised by his aunt in southern California.

His first major job was at the television station at Florida State University (FSU), Tallahassee, Florida where he started working nightly in the art department. Here he would throw pots “like crazy[3]” each night after work. In 1963, Coleson left FSU to open a pottery school in Sarasota, Florida.  

Colson was an important member of the Sarasota arts community for most of his life. He served on the Board of Directors of the Museum of Asian Art in 1999, the Board of Public Art Advisory from 1990 to 1993, as its chairman from 1993 to 1994, and was the juror for the Ringling Museum of Art 20th craft festival in 1991.




1. Charles A. Blim Jr. “Frank Colson: To Create Without Bounds,” Vasefinder, 2005, accessed June, 24, 2021,


2. Ibid.


3. Ibid.   






Public Collections to Display: 


Bibliography to Display: 

Blim, Charles A. Jr. "Frank Colson: To Create Without Bounds." Vasefinder, 2005.

Colson, Frank. “Raku: The Universal Language of Clay.” Ceramics Technical, December 2003.




Center for CraftCenter For Craft



AMOCA American Museum of Ceramic ArtAMOCA American Museum of Ceramic Art


Typical Marks
Date: 1964
Materials: Stoneware
Method: Thrown and Altered
Dimensions: 1.1 x 12.3 inches
Surface Technique: Glaze, Impressed
American Museum of Ceramic Art, gift of The American Ceramic Society, 2004.2.276
Photo: TMP
American Museum of Ceramic Art, gift of The American Ceramic Society, 2004.2.276
Photo: TMP
Photo: TMP

Citation: "The Marks Project." Last modified June 23, 2023.