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Joe Molinaro

Biography to Display: 

1952 Born South Bend, Illinois


1975 BS Art Ball State University Muncie, Illinois

1976 University of Notre Dame, South Bend, Illinois

1978 MFA Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Illinois


1975-1976 Director, Arts and Crafts Program, Cambridge House, Inc., Muncie, Illinois

1979 Assistant Technician, Craftwork Gallery, London, England

1981-1989 Instructor of Art, Broward Community College, Fort Lauderdale, Florida

1991 Visiting Professor, Universidad del Azuay, Cuenca, Ecuador

—1994 Fulbright Research Award, Amazon Region of Ecuador

1994-1995 Director, Ecuador Summer Study Program, Kentucky Institute for International Studies

—2001 Fulbright Teaching Scholar, Universidad Central, Quito, Ecuador

2003-2005 Editor, Studio Potter Network News

2005-2009 Programs Director, National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts

1989-2016 Professor, Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond, Kentucky

2016— Professor Emeritus, Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond, Kentucky


1974-1975 Apprenticeship, Bethel Pike Pottery, Albany, Illinois


Joe Molinaro is a functional potter who creates sculptural forms by altering and abstracting the vessel form to conceal its function. Molinaro’s surface technique is to incise black contour lines and apply geometric zig-zag spouts to confuse the eye when viewing his teapot. Molinaro is directly influenced by his studies of traditional pottery forms; he has researched ceramics in the Amazon region of Ecuador for nearly 25 years and has also conducted research in the Caribbean and Mexico. 

Molinaro is a ceramic artist, researcher and educator teaching at Eastern Kentucky University and before at Broward Community College in Florida. He and Richard Burkett founded CLAYART in 1996, an email forum for discussion of issues relating to ceramics. CLAYART now exists as an archive on the American Ceramics Society website,

Public Collections

Public Collections to Display: 

Anderson Fine Arts Center, Anderson, Illinois

Arizona State University Art Museum, Tempe, Arizona

Ball State University, Fine Arts Gallery, Muncie, Illinois

The Capital, Tallahassee, Florida

Indiana State Museum, Krannert Art Gallery, Evansville, Illinois

James Wallace Arts Trust, Auckland, New Zealand

Jingdezhen Ceramics Institute, Jingdezhen, China

Millikin University, Decatur, Illinois

Museo de la Ceramica, Fundacion Paul Rivet, Cuenca, Ecuador

National Gallery of Art, Kingston, Jamaica

Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, Arizona

Owensboro Museum of Fine Art Owensboro, Kentucky

Purdue University, Lafayette, Illinois

San Angelo Museum of Art, San Angelo, Texas

South Bend Regional Art Center, South Bend, Illinois

Southern Illinois University, University Art Gallery, Carbondale, Illinois

Trans-Financial Bank Corporation, Bowling Green, Kentucky


Bibliography to Display: 

Bronner, Nancy. “Ecuadorian Ceramics Remain Joe Molinaro’s Passion.” Arts Across Kentucky (Spring 2007).

Lane, Peter. Studio Porcelain. Radnor, PA: Chilton Book Co., 1980.

Lawton, Jim, Suzanne J E Tourtillott, and Linda Koop. 500 Teapots: Contemporary Exploratons of a Timeless Design. New York, NY: Lark Books, 2013.

Molinaro, Joe and Richard Burkett. Mythical Figures and Mucawas. Raleigh, NC: Lulu Press, 2014.

Molinaro, Joe, “Figurative Incongruity.” Ceramics Art & Perception 96 (2014).

___________. “Sustainable Ceramics” Ceramics Technical 38 (2014).

___________. “Preserving Culture: Evolving Traditions and Outside Influences Facing the Ecuadorian Amazon.” Studio Potter Magazine  (Summer/Fall 2013).

___________. “An Evolving Tradition.” Ceramics Monthly (May 2008).

___________. “The Pots of Jatumpamba.” Ceramics Monthly (October 2001).

___________. A Pottery Tour of Kentucky. Lexington KY: Crystal Communications Publication, 2000.

___________. “Porcelain.” Arts Across Kentucky (March/ April 2000).

___________. “Cups of Utility and Concept.” Ceramics: Art & Perception 34 (1998).

___________. “Cyberclay: An Electronic Pottery Village.” Ceramics Monthly (November 1998).

___________. “Coffee and Tea: Interpretations in Maiolica.” Ceramics Monthly (September 1998).

___________. “Linda Arbuckle.” Clay Times 2 (May/June 1997).

___________. “Jatun Molino: A Pottery Village in the Ecuadorian Amazon Basin.” Ceramics Monthly (May 1995).

___________. “Function on Function: An Interactive Pottery Exhibit.” Ceramics: Art & Perception (1993).

___________. “How to Join Clayart,” Ceramics Monthly (November 1993).

___________. “Ecuadorian Potters.” Studio Potter 21, no. 2 (1993)

___________. “Fantastic Figures of Ocumicho.” Ceramic Review (January/ February 1990).

___________. “Lucy ‘Ma Lou’ Jones-Jamaican Potter.” Ceramic Review (May/June 1987).

___________. “Cecil Baugh, Ma Lou in Florida.” Daily Gleaner Sunday Magazine (June 1984).

___________. “Jamaica’s Ma Lou,” Ceramics Monthly (April 1984).

Nelson, Glenn C. and Richard Burkett. Ceramics: A Potter’s Handbook. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing, 2002.

Zakin, Richard. Ceramics: Mastering the Craft. Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 2001.

___________. Electric Kiln Ceramics: A Guide to Clays and Glazes. Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 2004.




Typical Marks

“General signature/mark information:  Mostly I use a chop, but in some cases I inscribe it through a colored slip on the underneath side (when working on pieces that have a lot of colored slips applied to the form).  Earlier pieces were signed with a permanent marker after firing." –Joe Molinaro


Double Vessel with House
Materials: Porcelain
Method: Hand-Built, Thrown
Surface Technique: Glaze
Photo: Artist
Photo: Artist
Pre-Columbian Inspired Pouring Vessel
Form: Pitcher
Materials: Porcelain
Method: Extruded, Press Mold, Thrown
Surface Technique: Glaze
Photo: Artist
Photo: Artist

Citation: "The Marks Project." Last modified April 22, 2023.