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Stevens Strauss first received formal studio training as an undergraduate with Abstract Expressionist Vera Klement at the University of Chicago. While living in Florida, creating ceramic sculpture using the raku method of firing became a consuming interest. After relocating to Oakland in 2003, she continued her ikebana studies with the Bay Area master Soho Sakai.. Searching for a place to practice Zen which she had begun in to study in Florida, she found a small authentic Japanese temple in the Rockridge area called Kojin-an, of which she is now a long-time member. She also became a tea ceremony student in the Omotesenke school. These associations, recently including the study of calligraphy, have profoundly influenced her work.
Her sculptural works have been accepted to juried venues across California, including Feats of Clay in Lincoln, CA. Several pieces were featured in a three- person sculpture show in the Atrium in San Francisco’s SOMA , entitled TextureX Three.. Recent exhibitions include the Kellogg Gallery in Pomona’s prestigious Ink & Clay 37. Work was selected for the California Clay Competition in Davis, in conjunction with the California Conference for the Advancement of CeramicArt held there each spring. One of her raku pieces, Tanabata, was selected for inclusion in Lark Book’s 500 Raku published in the spring of 2011 from among thousands of international entries. Several of her pieces were included in an exhibit focusing on Yone Noguchi, poet/writer and father of Isamu. Her raku forms, incorporating ikebana, complemented his California-inspired poetic excerpts on display at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center.
In 2012, Strauss had the honor of a solo exhibition entitled ‘Under the Cinnamon Moon’ at the Japanese Consulate in San Francisco. It included over twenty pieces ranging from tea ceremony related objects to large scale sculpture, as well as ikebana and calligraphy done by Akiba roshi, of the Soto Zen lineage. The exhibit opened in January 2012 and was held over for an additional month at the request of the Director. She delivered a lecture at the opening focusing in depth on the effect of Japanese influence on her art ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qgpxZrAuHRk).
Stevens Strauss has given workshops introducing ikebana and chabana (tea ceremony flowers). In 2013, she created a large-scale outdoor ikebana installation at the Oakland Museum. In February of 2016, she was selected as the Featured Artist of the month by the Berkeley Art Center.
Strauss established the Berkeley Art Party in 2014 to promote interconnection and exchange between local artists and their audiences. Held every second Friday, the event presents three to four different artists each month in the historic Sawtooth building. The Art Party is a fun event with live music and refreshments that has provided a community building venue for over a year. Visit www.berkeleyartparty.com for details and information on past Art Party participants and to sign up for monthly announcements.
She has studied with well known Bay area ceramic sculptor Susannah Israel. and been strongly influenced by Peter Voulkos and Paul Soldner, a pioneer of western-style raku . Recent work has utilized iron oxide, glass fragments and Japanese glazes in an expanding repertoire of wall pieces and non-functional forms. Isamu Noguchi's work remains her primary source of inspiration.
Professional affiliations: Association of Clay and Glass Artists, Pacific Rim Sculptors Group, Nordic 5 Arts, and the Berkeley Art Center. Teaching certificate, 3rd grade, Sogestsu school of ikebana, member of Omotesenke Domonkai SF.