A Lifetime of Love and Clay

Mary and Edwin Scheier were partners and co-creators for over seven decades. They were self-taught, leading figures in the reemergence of studio pottery in the 20th century, elevating the craft to fine art. 

The Scheiers initially met through working for the WPA during the Great Depression and married in 1937; for a short time, they were traveling puppeteers, before settling in Tennessee, where they taught art classes and began experimenting with pottery. In 1938 they relocated to New Hampshire, where they were invited to lead the ceramics program at University of New Hampshire, Durham. 

There, they began developing their distinct style, which was initially inspired by the potters they met in the Appalachian mountains. They would go on to incorporate other global folk traditions into their work, which included modern and primitive imagery alike, as well as their own particular proclivities; Mary created small, hand-thrown works with delicate applied decoration and Ed did most of the glazing and made larger, more sculptural works. 

Vase, c. 1955
Charger, c. 1955

In 1968 Ed and Mary relocated to Oaxaca, Mexico; Mary had to stop creating pottery due to arthritis and Ed turned his attention to woodworking and tapestries. It wasn't until ten years later, when they moved to Arizona, that Ed returned to pottery. Ed and Mary passed away in 2008 and 2007, respectively; a large portion of their works are held by the University of New Hampshire and The Currier Museum, Manchester, NH.

Ed and Mary Scheier in their studio,1956. Image courtesy of the Currier Museum of Art.
Ed and Mary in their studio. Image courtesy of the Portsmouth Historical Society.

You musn’t think about it, you must feel it.

Edwin Scheier

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