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Donna Lee Nicholas

Biography to Display: 

1938 South Pasadena, California


1955-1959 BA Pomona College, Claremont, California

1960-1962 Student, Talmei Morino, Kyoto, Japan

1963-1964 Student, history of Japanese Art, Osaka University, Osaka, Japan

1964-1966 MFA Claremont Graduate School, Claremont, California


1959-1960 English Instructor, Doshisha Women’s College, Kyoto, Japan

1960-1964 English Instructor YMCA, Kyoto, Japan

1965-1966 Instructor, Claremont Unified School District, Claremont, California

1966-1969 Instructor, Mott Community College, Flint, Michigan

1969—Professor of Art, Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, Edinboro, Pennsylvania


Donna Nicholas primarily produced sculptural pieces that were constructed of various clay bodies particularly porcelain and white earthenware. The sculptures were constructed with slabs with the addition of extrusions and press molded elements. Multiple glaze firings used to enhance the forms were an ongoing part of her practice. 

Nicholas introduction to ceramics occurred as an outgrowth of her time teaching English in Japan. While in Japan she studied with numerous potters in a number of pottery areas. Upon her return to the US she studied with Paul Soldner at Claremont. Beginning in 1986 after a tornado touched down in her town a number of her sculptures were made of 2 pieces with the negative space between then representing a tornado. Late in her career she turned to the figure in mixed media sculptures.


Public Collections to Display: 

California State University, San Luis Obispo, California

Erie Art Museum, Erie, Pennsylvania

Flint Institute of the Arts, Flint, Michigan

Lowe Gallery, University of Miami, Miami, Florida

Plains Art Museum, Moorhead, Minnesota

Saint Petersburg Stieglitz State Academy of Art and Design, St. Petersburg, Russia  


Bibliography to Display: 

Nicholas, Donna. Video, WVIA-TV. PORTRAITS of Pennsylvania Artists. Allentown, PA, 1990.

_____________.“The Ceramic Nationals at Syracuse.” Craft Horizons (December 1972).

_____________.“A Potters’ Dozen.” NCECA Journal (1980).

_____________.“From the Inside Out.” NCECA Journal (1988).

_____________.“Gaigin.” Studio Potter (winter 1992).

_____________.“Japanese Women Ceramists-Part I.” Studio Potter (winter 1994).

_____________.“Japanese Women Ceramists-Part II.” Studio Potter (winter 1995).





Typical Marks
before 1975
Extrusion Study IV
Date: 1975
Form: Sculpture
Materials: Clay
Method: Extruded
Surface Technique: Glaze
The Forrest L. Merrill Collection, Dane Cloutier Archives
The Forrest L. Merrill Collection, Dane Cloutier Archives
Date: 1991
Form: Sculpture
Materials: Clay
Surface Technique: Glaze
The Forrest L. Merrill Collection, Dane Cloutier Archives
The Forrest L. Merrill Collection, Dane Cloutier Archives
Materials: Porcelain
Method: Thrown
Surface Technique: Glaze
Chip Clawson Collection
Photo: TMP
Chip Clawson Collection
Photo: TMP
Photo: TMP

Citation: "The Marks Project." Last modified April 13, 2023.