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Stan Welsh's interest in clay began at age 16, as a student at Claremont High School. He studied with Jerry Turner, who had been a student of Paul Soldner at Scripps College. Welsh quickly exhausted the high school's resources, so Turner introduced him to Soldner, who informally adopted Welsh into his ceramics program.
It was during this time at Scripps that he met Jun Kaneko, then a graduate student. Welsh was fascinated by the large, handbuilt structures that Kaneko developed - a direct influence on his own work.
In 1972, Welsh left Southern California to attend the Kansas City Art Institute, where he studied ceramics with Ken Ferguson and sculpture with Jim Leedy. After graduating in 1974, Welsh moved back to California, taking a job at Berkeley Art Foundry to earn enough to afford a studio, equipment and supplies. In that year, Welsh finally met Peter Voulkos, who became a generous supporter and friend.
The year culminated in a move to New York to pursue graduate studies at Alfred University with Tony Hepburn. Welsh's graduate work continued his investigation of ceramic sculpture, emphasizing extruded form and exploring raku firing.
After graduation from Alfred, Welsh again returned to California, eventually settling at the Dome, the studio complex and home owned by Voulkos in Oakland. Working at the Dome included use of Voulkos' large kiln, enabling Welsh to increase the scale of his coil constructions.
In 1980, when he joined the faculty at San Jose State University, Welsh began attaching traditional clay forms, such as plates, bowls and pitchers, to the large coil-built forms.
In the late 1980s, Welsh became interested in mixed-media sculpture. This work often combined clay with found objects and black-and-white photographs. This marked the beginning of social and political content in Welsh's sculpture, an exploration that has carried through the 90's.
Welsh took his first trip to Europe in the summer of 1990. Invited by Italian ceramics artist Sandro Lorinzini, Welsh traveled with seven graduate students to work for nearly two months in the studios of the Ceramic School of Albisola Superiore, the Guiseppe Mazzotti Factory and the Lorenzini studio.
The 1993 move from Oakland to Santa Cruz was a major transition from the urban studio complex of Peter Voulkos to a relatively secluded mountain home/studio located on three acres and surrounded by redwoods. His imagery, after this move, is highly influenced by the movement of the ocean and surrounding landscape. Stan Welsh's work can be viewed at: http://www.stanwelsh.com.