Craig Wisner

A Fallen Giant

Paul Soldner, 1921-2011

I was in the middle of a ceramics demonstration when a co-worker walked in and handed me the LA Times obituary for Paul Soldner today.  I likely wouldn’t be a ceramics teacher were it not for him.  Soldner was one of the major parts of the puzzle, a key influence on my path towards becoming a ceramic artist.  He was my teacher for a period of time, a great source of inspiration, as well as the teacher of my teachers; his influence is hard for me to escape.  Anyone that knew him would likely say the same, professing their admiration for him, not just as an artist, but as a human.  Beyond clay, Soldner inspired me to follow my own path, seeming to be one of those rare individuals that confronted life entirely on his own terms.  I believe I first worked with him when he was a guest artist at Pasadena City College under Phil Cornelius in the mid-nineties.  I was wedging and preparing all the clay that he was using to throw during his demos.  I’ve always wondered what’s happened to those pieces…I have the great pleasure of knowing I had a tiny bit of my hand in them.  I’m truly fortunate to have known this man.

Paul Soldner, Pink Vessel, 1979, thrown, altered clay, slips, stains, oxides, 8 x 10 x 5 inches.

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