Renate Funk

I was born in Germany and came to the USA when I was 25. I had a masters in English and enrolled at Columbia Teachers College in NYC for a Masters in Sociology and Education, which I earned in 1972. No formal background in art but a high interest and a lot of exposure to art growing up. I really drew and painted all my life but was not allowed to study Art.

I am married and have three children, who now have children of their own, so I have 4 grandchildren and one on the way. While I was raising children, I took print-making classes at the Smithsonian in Washington DC (etching and lithography) and later on after our move to Portland, Oregon, taught English at Portland Community College. It is there that I discovered ceramics. We spend the summer and fall in Portland, and I am working at the PCC studio there. In the winter months, we have been living in Ojai for 7 years, and I did hand building at home. Now am very fortunate to be a member at Firestick Pottery, where I work on the wheel and glaze and get my work fired.

I still do a lot of hand-building (sculptures of imaginary sea creatures and seed pods), slab structures, tiles, etc. I also enjoy making simple or decorated pots on the wheel. I love re-creating pots from European past cultures or sculptures (Italian Faience, slightly corny baroque birds, simple rustic jugs).

My work is very spontaneous. I cannot keep up with my ideas. Luckily, I have the time for my passion after retirement, and I allow myself to make what pops into my head. I am grateful when I can share my pieces – even just to look at – with an audience interested in visual joy.