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Irina Okula

Biography to Display: 


1966 BA Art, Fontbonne College (now Fontbonne University), St. Louis, Missouri

1971 MFA Ceramics, Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville, Illinois


1987, 1989, 1991, 1997, 2004, 2005, 2007 Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, Deer Isle, Maine

2006 Anderson Ranch, Snowmass Village, Colorado


      Irina Okula throws functional forms on a potter’s wheel using white earthenware clay, stoneware, and porcelain. The majority of her work is functional, however, some is non-functional. Forms include mugs, casseroles, covered dishes, and bowls.  The surface of each object is first polished with a stone then painted with several coats of Terra Sigillata (a fine white clay slip) and polished again with a soft cloth then fired to 1800 Fahrenheit. Each piece is then wrapped with combustible materials such as salt marsh hay, seaweed, corn husks and sawdust soaked in a solution of iron, cobalt, copper or yellow ochre oxides and wrapped around the vessel secured with coper wire.  The wrapped piece is then placed in a saggar (a covered fire clay container that contains a ceramic object in the kiln) and fired in a gas kiln.

Non-functional pieces are created after the first firing. Okula  selects pieces to be broken, each shard is individually wrapped using copper wire, tape and string to secure the combustible wrap and each shard is placed in an individual saggar, fired in a gas kiln, then reassembled, and glued back together.

Okula’s pots are influenced by Native American pottery and western landscapes.




Typical Marks
Shard Pot #2
Materials: Earthenware
Method: Thrown and Altered
Surface Technique: Terra Sigillata
The State of Clay, Lexington, MA, 2016
Photo: TMP
The State of Clay, Lexington, MA, 2016
Photo: TMP
Photo: TMP

Citation: "The Marks Project." Last modified April 12, 2023.