Biography

text 1

Sanam Emami creates pots and tiles with a specific intent – a function. She believes that the parameters of the functional vessel simultaneously create boundaries and endless possibilities. Plates, cups, and tiles are ubiquitous, recognizable. Her vases and their multiple spouts are curious when empty, revealing their function only when filled with flowers. The cup provides a counterpoint – the curves and movement of the form interact with the surface pattern and imagery.

Emami derives inspiration from an everyday variety of sources: a book, a conversation, or a glimpse of something familiar, like a favorite historical pot that can seem new, as if seen for the first time. Once in her studio, these esoteric concepts and inspiration take shape and become tangible and dimensional. She values concepts of unity with variety, as in combining soft marks and volumes with crisp edges and lines. She is interested in creating contrasting gestures that can coexist within an object through mark making, symmetry, and repeated patterns.

Emami is an Associate Professor of Pottery at Colorado State University, Fort Collins. She received a BA in History from James Madison University in Virginia and an MFA in Ceramics from New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University. She was a Visiting Assistant Professor in Ceramics at Alfred University and a resident artist at the Archie Bray Foundation in Montana. She has lectured at the Office for the Arts at Harvard University; the Kansas City Art Institute; Arizona State University Art Museum­ Ceramic Research Center; and NCECA in Louisville, Kentucky. She received a New York Foundation for the Arts Grant for Craft, and her work has been in exhibitions at numerous galleries and museums throughout the United States. 

CV

Education
2000-02  MFA Ceramics, New York State College of Ceramics,
                    Alfred University, NY
1996-97  Post-Baccalaureate Program, Ceramics, University of Colorado,
                    Boulder, CO
1989-93  BA History, Ceramics Minor, James Madison University,
                    Harrisonburg, VA

Academic Positions
2013-Present  Associate Professor: Pottery, Department of Art, Colorado
                       State University, Fort Collins CO
2007-13  Assistant Professor: Pottery, Department of Art, Colorado State
                    University, Fort Collins, CO
2004-07  Visiting Assistant Professor: Foundations Program, Drawing and Studio/3D
                    Design Division of Ceramic Art; Sophomore Wheel,
 ​                   Junior Pottery, Senior Studio, New York State College of Ceramics,
                    Alfred University, NY
2003-04  Adjunct Assistant Professor: Foundations Program, Division of
                   Ceramic Art, New York State College of Ceramics,
                   Alfred University, NY

Selected Exhibitions
2014    Pour, Schein-Joseph International Museum of Ceramic Art, Alfred University,
                 Alfred NY
            Lineage: The Art of Mentorship, Curated by Gail Kendall, Clay Art Center,
                 Port Chester NY
            Matthew Metz, Linda Sikora and Sanam Emami, The Clay Studio,
                 Philadelphia PA
            Artist of the Month, Northern Clay Center, Minneapolis MN
            Cup: The Intimate Object X, Charlie Cummings Gallery, Gainesville FL
            Sanam Emami: New Work, Crimson Laurel Gallery, Bakersville NC
2013    Clay Prints: Image, Surface and Narrative in Contemporary Ceramics,
                 Fort Wayne Museum of Art, Fort Wayne IN
            Layered, Mudfire Gallery, Decatur GA
            Garnitures and Tableware, Esther and John Clay Fine Arts Gallery,
                 Laramie County Community College, Cheyenne WY
            Duets, Clay Art Center, Port Chester NY
            Yunomi Invitational, Akar Gallery, Iowa City IA
            Art-Stream Nomadic Gallery, National Conference on Education of
                 Ceramic Art, Houston TX
2012    Cup: The Intimate Object VIII, Charlie Cummings Gallery, Gainesville FL
            Our Cup Runneth Over: Functional & Sculptural Ceramic Cups, The Society
                 of Arts & Crafts, Boston MA
            Pots at Rest, Clay Studio of Philadelphia, Philadelphia PA
            Source-Material: An Exhibition on Water and the Ceramic Cup,
                 Crimson Laurel Gallery, Bakersville NC
            Art-Stream Nomadic Gallery, National Conference on Education of
                 Ceramic Art, Seattle WA
            Art Stream Artist’s, Gallery One, Ellensburg WA
            Sources and Influences: Clay Artists, Mentors and Students,
                 Huntington Museum of Art, Huntington WV
            de la fleur, Mudfire Gallery, Decatur GA
2011    Year of Turkey, Ceramics Material and Material Culture, Flushing Town Hall,
                 Flushing NY
            Gifted: The Clay Studio’s Annual Holiday Exhibition, Clay Studio,
                 Philadelphia PA
            Artist of the Month, Lillstreet Gallery, Chicago IL
            Arabesques, Two-Person Exhibition, Berger Art Center, Kansas City MO
            Islamic Influences, National Conference on Education of Ceramic Art,
                 Crossroads Gallery, St. Petersburg College, Clearwater FL
            La Mesa, Sante Fe Clay, National Conference on Education of Ceramic
                  Art, Tampa FL
            Yunomi Invitational, Akar Gallery, Iowa City IA
            Winter’s Florifertum, Red Lodge Clay Center, Red Lodge MT
            Sensual Ceramics, Carbondale Clay Center, Carbondale CO
            Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?, Clay Art Center, Port Chester NY
2010    Form Follows Function, Group Invitational, Greenwich House Pottery,
                 New York NY
            Crafted: A Collector’s Series, The Society for Contemporary Craft,
                 Pittsburgh PA
            Intimate Works, Art 342, Fort Collins CO
            Midsummer Eve Exhibition, Meredith Gallery, Baltimore MD
            Decalcomania, Sante Fe Clay, Sante Fe NM
            Speaking of Clay, Art Students League, Denver CO
            Conversations, Coincidences and Motivations, The Snyderman-Works
                 Gallery, Philadelphia PA
            Makers Market, Curated by American Craft, The Noguchi Museum,
                 R20th Century and Socrates Sculpture Park, New York
            Ceram-a-rama, ASU Art Museum, Ceramics Research Center,
                 Silent Auction, Tempe AZ
            Elastic Expressions: Variations in Clay from Colorado Collections, 
                 Curated by Sanam Emami
2009    Paper or Pottery – Not Plastic, Ferrin Gallery, Pittsfield MA
            Sanam Emami: New Work, Brickhouse Ceramic Art Center,
                 Long Island City NY
            Continental Divide, Presented by National Council on Education
                 for the Ceramic Arts and the Arvada Center
            47 Ceramic Artists from Wyoming, Montana, New Mexico and
                 Colorado
, Arvada Center for the Arts and the Humanities, Arvada CO
            Makers Market, curated by American Craft, The Noguchi Musuem,
                 R20th Century and Socrates Sculpture Park, Socrates Sculpture
                 Market, Long Island City NY
            Sanam Emami: Organic Precisionism, Greenwich House Pottery,
                  New York NY
            Made in Clay, Greenwich House Pottery, New York NY
            La Mesa, Sante Fe Clay at NCECA, Wyndham Phoenix Hotel,
                  Phoenix AZ
2008    The Archie Bray Foundation: Present and Past Residents, Galaxie
                 Chicago, The Nevica Project, Chicago, IL
            Drawn, Red Lodge Clay Center, Red Lodge, MT
            Sanam Emami: New Work, Red Star Gallery, Kansas City, MO
            Near East Meets West, Sarofim School of Fine Arts, Southwestern
                 University, Georgetown, TX
            The Artful Table, Lyndhurst Museum, Tarrytown, NY
            Transformations: 6 x 6, Clay Art Center, Port Chester, NY
            Potsketch, The Clay Studio of Missoula, Missoula, MT
            Sip, Slurp, Gulp, Sante Fe Clay, Sante Fe, NM
            The Functional Cup, Formargruppen Butik och Galleri, Malmo, Sweden
            Shared Journeys: NCECA 2008 Traveling Exhibition, Pottery Workshop,
                 NCECA/ChinaSymposium, Shanghai, China
            Made In Clay, Greenwich House Pottery, New York, NY
            Soul On Fire, ASU Art Museum, Ceramics Research Center, Tempe, AZ
            Tactile Poetry, State of the Art, National Biennial Ceramics, Parkland Art
                 Gallery, Champaign, IL
            Master Artist Exhibition, Armory Art Center, West Palm Beach, FL
2007    American Pottery Festival, Northern Clay Center, Minneapolis, MN
            Alfred Now, Lacoste Gallery, Concord, MA
            37th Annual Ceramics Exhibition, Crossman Art Gallery, University of
                 Wisconsin-Whitewater, Whitewater, WI
            Flower Power: Vessels of Containment, The Clay Studio, Philadelphia, PA
            Made In Clay, Greenwich House Pottery, New York, NY
            Mastery in Clay, The Clay Studio, Philadelphia, PA
2006    6 Artists, Sante Fe Clay, Sante Fe, NM
            In The Niche, The Clay Studio, Philadelphia, PA
            Inspired Utility: Exceptional Ceramic Vessels, Main Line Art Center,
                 Haverford, PA
            8 Fluid Ounces II, LSU School of Art, Alfred C. Glassell Jr. Gallery,
                 Baton Rouge, LA
            Archie Bray International 2006: Former Bray Residents Show,
                 Turman Gallery, Helena, MT
            Mastery in Clay, The Clay Studio, Philadelphia, PA
            Ceramics Symposium, Anne Kitrell Gallery, University of Arkansas,
                 Fayetteville, AR
            Issues of Substance, Lobby Gallery, General Electric Company,
                 Fairfield, CT
2005    Fertile Earth, Target Gallery, Torpedo Factory Art Center, Alexandria, VA
            White on White, Traveling Exhibition, Elaine L. Jacob Gallery,
                  Wayne State University, Detroit, MI
            Culturing Surfaces, Homewood House Museum, Johns Hopkins
                 Campus, Baltimore, MD
2004    Tile: Matter and Motif, Baltimore Clayworks, Baltimore, MD
            Feats of Clay XVII, Lincoln Arts, Lincoln, CA
            Spring: A Group Exhibition, The Clay Studio, Philadelphia, PA
            Just Desserts, Santa Fe Clay, Santa Fe, NM
            Service, An Unconventional Approach, Chester Springs Studio,
                 Chester Springs, PA
2003    Cabin Fever, Alfred Faculty Exhibition, Artsite, Wellsville, NY
            Generations: Impending Lineage, Art and Industry Gallery,
                 San Diego, CA
            Selected New Gifts, Alfred Ceramic Museum, Alfred, NY
            The Functional Referent, Greenwich House Pottery, New York, NY
2002    Islamic Ceramic Traditions, The Society of Arts and Crafts, Boston, MA
            Graduate Student Competition, Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian,
                 Washington DC
            MFA Thesis Exhibition, Fosdick Nelson Gallery, NYSCC, Alfred, NY
            Recent Ceramic Graduate Students, Pewabic Pottery, Detroit, MI
2001    Clay Odyssey: Archie Bray Foundation 50th Anniversary Auction,
                 Civic Center, Helena, MT
            Clay Odyssey: Teapot Invitational, Ryan & Maclean Teahouse,
                 Helena, MT
            Former Residents of the Bray, Turman Gallery, Helena, MT
            Le Grand Buffet, The Clay Studio Exhibition and Auction, Philadelphia, PA
2000    Farewell Resident Exhibition, Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts,
                 Helena, MT
            Utilitarian Pottery and Tiles, Artworks Gallery, Holter Museum of Art,
                 Helena, MT
            Artists on Their Own, Greenwich House Pottery, New York, NY
            Archie Bray and the Colorado Connection, Colorado Gallery for the Arts,
                 Littleton, CO
            Porcelain 2000, Esmay Fine Art, Rochester, NY
            Resident Artist Exhibition, Warehouse Gallery, Archie Bray Foundation,
                 Helena, MT
            Impressions in Clay, Studio Days 2000, Chester Springs Studio,
                 Chester Springs, PA
            Focus on Function, Katherine Nash Gallery, University of Minnesota,
                 Minneapolis, MN

Lectures and Workshops
2014    Visiting Artist, Invited Lecture & Workshop, University of Minnesota,
                 Minneapolis MN
            Visiting Artist, Invited Lecture & Workshop, University of Wisconsin,
                  River Falls WI
            Visiting Artist, Invited Workshop, City of Westminster Parks and Rec,
                 Westminster CO
2013    Summer Workshop, 2-Week Session, Haystack Mountain School of
                 Crafts, Deer Isle ME
            Visiting Artist, Invited Lecture & Workshop, Connecticut College,
                 New London CT
            Visiting Artist, Invited Lecture & Workshop, Colorado State University,
                 Pueblo CO
2012    Visiting Artist, Invited Lecture, Central Academy of Fine Art – City Design
                 School, Beijing China
2011     Alfred Summer School, 4 Week Session, New York State College of
                  Ceramics, Alfred University, Alfred NY
            Visiting Artist, Invited Lecture & Workshop, Boise State University,
                  Boise ID
2009    Visiting Artist, Invited Lecture & Workshop, Brickhouse Ceramic
                  Art Center, Long Island NY
            Visiting Artist, Invited Lecture & Workshop, Gettysburg College,
                  Gettysburg PA
2008    Symposia, Panelist, The Culture of Ornament and Decoration, Penn
                  State School of Visual Art, State College, PA
            Visiting Artist in conjunction with The Culture of Ornament and Decoration,
                  Penn State School of Visual Art, State College
            Visiting Artist, Invited Lecture & Workshop, Blossom Summer Session,
                 Kent State University, Kent, OH
2007    Symposia, Invited Lecture & Demonstration, National Council on Education
                 for the Ceramic Arts, Louisville KY
            Symposia, Panelist, Ceramics: Five Emerging Artists Survey the Discipline,
                 College Art Association, New York NY
            Visiting Artist, Invited Lecture & Workshop, 92nd Street Y, New York NY
2006    Symposia, Invited Lecture & Demonstration, University of Arkansas
                 Ceramics Symposium, Fayettesville, AR
2005    Symposia, Invited Lecture & Demonstration, The Art of
                 Fine Craft Conference, University Place Art Center, Lincoln, NE
            Visiting Artist, Invited Lecture & Workshop, University of Colorado,
                 Boulder, CO
            Visiting Artist, Invited Lecture & Workshop, Bowling Green State University,
                 Bowling Green, OH
            Visiting Artist, Invited Lecture & Workshop, Murray State University,
                  Murray State, KY
2004    Visiting Artist, Invited Lecture & Workshop, ASU Art Museum-Ceramic
                 Research Center, In conjunction with Wit and Wine: Ancient Iranian
                 Ceramics from the Sackler Foundation
            Visiting Artist, Invited Lecture & Workshop, Women’s Studio Workshop,
                 Workshop co-sponsored by Artists & Audience Exchange, a public
                 program of NYFA
            Visiting Artist, Invited Lecture, Workshop & Student Critiques, Kansas
                 City Art Institute, Kansas City, MO
2003    Visiting Artist, Invited Lecture, Workshop & Student Critiques, Metro State,
                 Denver, CO
            Visiting Artist, Invited Lecture & Workshop, Glaze Application and Pattern,
                 Clay Art Center, Port Chester, NY
            Visiting Artist, Invited Lecture, Workshop & Student Critiques, Bennington
                 College, Bennington, VT
            Visiting Artist, Invited Lecture & Workshop, Pomona College,
                 Claremont, CA
2002    Symposia, Invited Lecture, Islamic Ceramic Traditions Symposium,
                 Office for the Arts at Harvard, Boston, MA
            Visiting Artist, Invited Lecture & Workshop, Office for the Arts at Harvard,
                 Boston, MA
            Workshop, Layering: Pattern, Glaze and Fire, Co-Taught with Fredi Rahn,
                 Archie Bray Foundation, Helena, MT
            Visiting Artist, Invited Lecture & Workshop, Bray Days, University of
                 Montana, Bozeman, MT
            Visiting Artist, Invited Lecture & Workshop, University of Ohio, Athens
            Summer Resident Invited Lecture, Holter Museum of Art, Helena, MT
            Visiting Artist, Invited Lecture & Workshop, Center College, Dansville, KY
2000    Workshop, Layering: Pattern, Glaze and Fire, Co-Taught with Fredi Rahn,
                 Archie Bray Foundation, Helena, MT
            Visiting Artist, Invited Lecture & Workshop, Bray Days, University of
                 Montana, Bozeman MT
            Visiting Artist, Invited Lecture & Workshop, University of Ohio, Athens OH

Residencies
2014    Resident Artist, 3 Month Residency, Northern Clay Center, Minneapolis MN
                 (Awarded in conjunction with McKnight Ceramic Artist Fellowship)
2010    Resident Artist, 3 Month Residency, ART 342, Fort Collins CO
2006    Artists Invite Artists, 2 Week Artist Residency, Watershed Center for
                 the Ceramic Arts, Newcastle, ME
1998-2000  Resident Artist, Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts,
                   Helena, MT

Honors & Awards
2004    Purchase Award by: ANEW Financial Services, Debbie
                 Denning, Feats of Clay XVII, Lincoln Arts, Lincoln, CA
2001    Lancaster Designer Craftsmen Award for Second Place, 9th
                 Annual Strictly Functional Pottery National, Market House Craft Center,
                 East Petersburg, PA
1999    The Connie Fraley Award, Habit to Ritual, Pots for Living, Studio Days 99,
                 Chester Springs, PA

Grants
2013    McKnight Ceramic Artist Fellowship and Residency Recipient,
                 Northern Clay Center, Minneapolis MN
2009    Professional Development Program, Travel, shipping and purchase
                 of materials for exhibition at Greenwich House Pottery in
                 New York, Colorado State University, Fort Collins
2008    Professional Development Program, Travel to NCECA Pittsburgh
                 for exhibitions, Colorado State University, Fort Collins
2003    Grant Recipient for the Crafts, New York Foundation for the
                 Arts Fellowship, NY

Selected Bibliography
Kopp, Linda, ed. 500 Prints on Clay, Lark Crafts Publishing, pp. 129, 166. 2013
“Sanam Emami: Channeling the Silk Road,” Ceramic Monthly, Volume 61, Number 4,
            pp. 39-43. April 2013
“A Collision of Culture and Artistry,” The Crafts Report, Volume 38, Numer 444,
​            pp. 30-33. April 2013
Taylor, Louisa. The Ceramics Bible: The Complete Guide to Materials and
​            Techniques, Chronicle Books, 2011
Emami, Sanam. “Marvelous Mud: Clay Around the World,” Ceramic Monthly,
​            Volume 59, Number 7, pp. 60-61. September 2011
Hale, Julie, ed. 500 Vases: Contemporary Explorations of a Timeless Form,
​            Lark Books, pp.140, 266, 390. 2010
Emami, Sanam. “In Search of Boundaries,” The Studio Potter, Volume 38,
​            Number 2, pp. 6, Summer / Fall 2010
Howe, Liz. “Continental Divide,” Ceramics Monthly, Volume 58, Number 1,
​            pp. 22-23. January 2010
“Organic Precisionism,” Ceramics Monthly, Volume 57, Number 4, pp. 17,
​            April 2009
Lee, Linda. “At a Park, a Cornucopia of Crafts,” The New York Times,
​            Home & Garden Section, June 24, 2009
“Sanam Emami: Organic Precisionism,” Nokteez: Intersections within Contemporary
​            Iranian Art and Culture, 2009
Hannah, Caroline. “Tulip Vases and Trivets: Contemporary Ceramics by Sanam
​            Emami,” The Magazine Antiques, March 12, 2009
“New York Introduces Persian Pottery,” Press TV, March 10, 2009
Emami, Sanam. “Meg Oliver,” Ceramic Monthly, Volume 56, Number 1, pp. 34,
​            January 2008
“Shared Journeys: American Art in China,” Exhibition Catalog, The Pottery
​            Workshop, Shanghai, China, 2008
“Sanam Emami, Ayumi Horie, Jeanne Quinn,” American Craft, 2008
“Tactile Poetry,” 2008 National Biennial Ceramics Invitational Catalog, Parkland Art
​            Gallery, Champaign, Illinois, pp. 18-19, 2008
“Duration Generation Exploration,” Centennial Catalogue, School of Art and Art
​            History, James Madison University, pp. 66-67, 2008
Martin, Andrew. The Essential Guide to Mold Making & Slip Casting, Larks Books,
​            A Division of Sterling Publishing, New York, NY, pg. 52. 2007
Emami, Sanam. “On Function and Content, Ceramics: Five Emerging Artists Survey
​            the Discipline,” Interpreting Ceramics. 2007
Levin, Elaine. “Fertile Earth,” Ceramic Review, January / February 2006
“Feats of Clay XVII,” Exhibition Catalog, Gladding McBean, Lincoln, CA, 2004
“14th San Angelo National Ceramic Comptetition,” San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts
​            Exhibition Catalogue, San Angelo, TX, 2002
“Graduage Student Exhibition Catalogue,” Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian Institution,
​            Washington, DC, 2002
Hluch, Kevin A. The Art of Contemporary Pottery, 2001

Back To Top