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Mara Superior

Biography to Display: 

1951Born New York, New York


1970-1972Hartford Art School, University of Hartford, Hartford, Connecticut

1975BFA Painting, University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut

1980MAT University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Massachusetts


2006Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts, Residency, Newcastle, Maine


Mara Superior is known for porcelain works based on traditional functional or sculptural forms using sprigging and under glaze decoration on press molded or slab built wares that are strongly influenced by Superior’s interest in traditional American folk imagery, travel, and politics.

With the exception of her early ceramics, all her work is porcelain fired in a gas kiln. Her pieces range from plates, platters, bowls, tulipières, and figurines to larger sculptural pieces. Each form serves as a surface for her elaborate, intricate under glaze painting.

The autobiographical narratives she presents in her work address themes including the home as a valued place, filled with happiness and love, travel, and animals. She frequently incorporates birds and fish which appear in relation to her themes. Beginning in 2007 she started creating a series of works with strong political themes.

Mara Superior was one of the founders of Pinch Pottery/Ferrin Gallery in 1979 in Northampton, Massachusetts.


Public Collections to Display: 

American Museum of Ceramic Art, Pomona, California

Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), Los Angeles, California

Museum of Arts and Design, New York, New York

New Britain Museum of American Art, New Britain, Connecticut

Newark Museum, Newark, New Jersey

Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Massachusetts

Smithsonian American Art Museum, Renwick Gallery, Washington, D.C.

Racine Art Museum, Racine, Wisconsin

University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Massachsetts

White House Collection at the Clinton Presidential Library, Little Rock, Arkansas


Bibliography to Display: 

Buckberrough, Sherry and Nancy Noble. Women Artists at New Britain Museum. Hanover, NH and London, England: University Press of New England, 2011.

Clark, Garth. The Eccentric Teapot.  New York, NY: Abbeville Press, 1989.

Dietz, Ulysses G., Garth Clark, and Mark Del Vecchio. Great Pots: Contemporary Ceramics from Function to Fantasy. Madison, WI: Guild Publishing, 2003.

Ferrin, Leslie. Teapots Transformed. Madison, WI: Guild Publishing, 2000.

Herman, Lloyd E. Art That Works, Decorative Arts of the Eighties, Crafted in America. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press, 1990.

Lauria, Jo. Color and Fire, Moments in Studio Ceramics 1950-2000. Los Angeles, CA: Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Rizzoli, 2000.

Monroe, Michael. The White House Collection of American Crafts. New York, NY: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1995.

New Britain Museum of American Art. Mara Superior: A Retrospective. New Britain, CT: New Britain Museum of American Art, 2006.

Pearson, Katherine. American Crafts: A Source Book for the Home. New York, NY: Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 1984.

Peterson, Susan. The Craft and Art of Clay, 3rd ed., New York, NY: Overlook Press/Viking, 2000.

Sheehan, Laurence, Carol Sheehan and Kathryn Precourt. The Birding Life. New York, NY: Clarkson Potter Publishers, 2011.

Simpson, Tommy. Hand and Home, The Homes of American Craftsmen. Boston, MA: Bulfinch Press/Little Brown & Co., 1994.


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Typical Marks
ca 1995
Bee Plate
Date: ca 1995
Materials: Porcelain
Method: Drape Mold
Surface Technique: Brushwork, Overglaze (On Glaze), Underglaze
Photo: Loren Maron
Photo: Loren Maron
Photo: Loren Maron
A Garden Plate
Date: ca 1995
Materials: Porcelain
Method: Drape Mold
Surface Technique: Brushwork, Overglaze (On Glaze), Underglaze
Photo: Loren Maron
Photo: Loren Maron
A Cocoa Pot
Date: 1990
Form: Pot
Materials: Porcelain
Method: Slab-Built
Surface Technique: Overglaze, Overglaze (On Glaze), Underglaze
The White House Collection, Clinton Library, Little Rock, AK
Photo: John Bigelow Taylor
The White House Collection, Clinton Library, Little Rock, AK
Tulipomania/Dutch Treat, Tulipiere
Date: ca. 2000
Photo: John Polak
The Pearl Fishers-Platter
Date: ca 2010
Photo: John Polak
Photo: John Polak
Rise and Shine-Platter
Date: ca 2012
Materials: Porcelain
Method: Hand-Built, Drape Mold
Surface Technique: Underglaze
Photo: John Polak
Photo: John Polak
Photo: John Polak

Citation: "The Marks Project." Last modified July 21, 2023.