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"Never Wish A Doctor A Good Year" Yiddish Proverb, slab pot with drawing, 2018
"Never Wish A Doctor A Good Year" Yiddish Proverb
2018, slab pot with incised drawing, studio work


UnWedged is Pottery Northwest’s annual national juried exhibition. Each year, the juror seeks out applicants working in clay, with either a connection to tradition or increasing innovation in the field.

Pottery Northwest hopes to produce an exhibition that reflects an excellent example of the state of contemporary ceramics. To this end, each year they select a juror with a proven career track record, who has exemplary taste, and whose work we admire. We are pleased to announce that Julia Galloway is the juror for 2018.

Exhibition Runs: October 5 – 26, 2018, opening October 12, 6-8 PM at
226 First Avenue North
Seattle, WA 98109
(one block south of Key Arena)

     Joan Rudd's terra cotta sculpture, "Gelibte" (beloved), has been selected for this exhibition

     "Both of my grandfathers began by selling grain and made their fortunes manufacturing noodles.
     I consider my work in clay to be an extension of the noodle board: roll out, cut, and shape.
     And have you always wanted to depict the human figure? It is nearly an infinite goal.

     I have a great, new, product idea: to make vessels with figures carved into their side surfaces.


Lifelong clay artist.


I make figurative sculpture in clay. I observe people during motion and at rest. I draw from life and from photographs.


I work with both building and carving in clay, as well as mold making and making unique casts in concrete. I test compositions with drawings, cut outs, and small “maquettes”, or models. I work in 3D and roll out then carve reliefs out of the scraps. 


I can make representational figures that show evidence of human emotion.

I access customary cultural beliefs and social forms through my titles written in Yiddish.


I make art to portray the potential value and goodness of human beings.

I depict common human psychological states, including an autonomous sense of self. I do this looking, recording, and sculpting primarily for myself and whoever can relate to it. My goal is economy, vitality, and clarity of form. I seek integration, unity, and beauty, and I look for truth."

Starting from a silhouette, these figures were carved from a solid block of Vashon buff, dried slowly, and bisque fired at cone 06. Since colored.
An unusual blending with language and culture. By referencing Yiddish poems, sayings, and prayers for the themes and titles, Joan's work offers a window into a thousand year old culture nearly extinguished in our time.
Terra cotta figures can be enlarged and cast in bronze or aluminum.

Open Studios at ActivSpace (north Seattle)  10015 Lake City Way NE on Saturday and Sunday, May 5 and 6, 2018 from 12-5 PM.

     Music and light refreshments. Free. Parking lot and street parking. 
     Buzz intercom Rudd Studio #227 for entry to building. Multiple artists showing.

     Two of Rudd's figurative works on paper shown below.

     An album of Rudd's terra cotta reliefs shown below.

Auction Participation
The two incised reliefs below, "Jewish Meditation" and "Woman with hijab" will be available in the Purim Auction on March 3, 2018 at 
Congregation Kol Ami in Woodinville , WA.

A catalogue of the Pop Up Cultural Heritage Exhibit described below was completed 2016 and copies of the Pop Up Cultural Heritage book, dedicated to the memory of my bother Nick, have been accepted by the libraries of the Whiteley Center/Friday Harbor Laboratories, the University of Washington Special Collections, the Oregon Jewish Museum, the Magnes Collection of Jewish Life and Culture at UC Berkeley, the National Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, MA, the Stephen Wise Free Synagogue, and now at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research in NYC. The acknowledgement letter from the director of the YIVO Library and Archives says that the book is "a valuable contribution to YIVO's collections and is greatly appreciated".

Pop Up Cultural Heritage Exhibit made its Kickstarter "tipping point"! And so, we went on to install it all!

"Like" it on our Facebook page!  https://www.facebook.com/popupculturalheritage

“Pop Up Cultural Heritage Exhibit: Setting a place at the table for Jewish culture” was on view March 25-May 1, 2014 at  Bellevue City Hall Park Pavilion, Bellevue, Washington. This 20’ x  80’ collaborative installation featured concepts, photos, maps, artifacts, “rooms”, terra cotta and bronze sculpture, and explored 65 years of life and culture. 

A project of Joan Rudd Sculpture Studio and Storefronts/Bellevue, presented by Shunpike, a 501(C)3 organization, and City of Bellevue Arts to cultivate understanding of Jewish heritage in Seattle/King County through art.

Free parking underneath Bellevue City Hall. Window viewing through June 1.
Staffed Tuesdays through Fridays 12-4 PM through May 1. Closed April 15 and again April 22 in honor of Passover.

"Sheynkayt", 2.0 (Beautifulness, version 2), "Vos vet blaybn" (What will remain) 

I plan on a show of new work in sculpture in 2012-13. The work will consist of ten figurative groupings, separate figures united by their bases, and resting on individual pedestals. An equal number of complementary wall hanging reliefs will accompany them. 

The images and texts we surround ourselves with do matter. The vitality and vigor of the terra cotta figures connect downwards, towards the earth. The chunky figures therefore appear attached, stable, and "grounded." 

My sense of composition encompasses 19th century canons of beauty based on curve and reverse curve. At the same time, these economical figures have a 20th century sense of abstraction and a sense of movement of their own.

I have learned to carve "top down", to cut "stops" and "pop off" the scrap. I solve the location of the soles of the feet early on and carve the figure to match. When carving, if you change one thing, five or more other forms are affected.

My current work is tremendously benign. The theme is support, and not protection. The figures hold each other with strength and with lightness. Time appears not to end as the moment(s) depicted continues. Their "presence", as statues, is meant to represent eternity or timelessness.

The poetic titles, in Yiddish, are meant to open them up to a variety of interpretations. Two and three generations away from Yiddish speakers, my own identity is informed and defined by a collective memory of this language and its culture.

What does it mean to understand or illuminate art through a title from another language? There are things you can say in Yiddish which cannot be expressed in English. By joining language to art I am making connections which illustrate and enrich the understanding of a thousand year old culture, while living fully now, in the 21st century. 

Annual Juried Art Exhibition, juried  by Gary Faigin, Merit Award
Northwind Arts Center
2409 Jefferson Street
Port Townsend, WA 98368

Opening Reception Friday, August 5, 7-9 PM at Northwinds
Exhibit open 12-5 pm, Saturday, Aug 6-Sunday, Aug 28
     Closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays

"ART ON THE AVENUES" April 2011-April 2012
Annual Juried Art Exhibition
Wenatchee, Washington
Opening Reception, June 2011 

"PICTURE THE MUSICIAN: Portraits of Musicians by NW Artists
Wenatchee Valley Museum & Cultural Center
127 S. Mission Street, Wenatchee, Washington
October 1-December 24, 2010

"ART ON THE AVENUES" April 2010-April 2011
Annual Juried Art Exhibition
Wenatchee, Washington
Opening Reception, June 2010 

Kirkland City Hall

October 2 – October 28, 2009
Monday – Friday, 8 am to 5 pm

123 5th Ave
Kirkland, WA 98033

Parking lot in front of entrance.


Studio Holiday Sale
November 14-15, 2009
Saturday-Sunday, 2-4 pm
contact artist for further info
Email: joan [dot] rudd [at] comcast [dot] net

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