A Fallen Giant
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.