Ken Ferguson

San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts

Accession no: 2007.3.4 Type of work: Ceramic
Current location: Prep Room – Blue cabinets
Artist/creator: Ken Ferguson
Variant forms of names: Kenneth Richard Ferguson
Born: March 6, 1928 in Elwood, Indiana Died: December 30, 2004 in Shawnee Mission, Kansas

Artist biography: Ken Ferguson studied at the American Academy of Art in Chicago and received a BFA in 1952 from the Carnegie Institute of Technology. He served in the army with the First Calvary at Camp Sendai Japan, and then studied under the GI bill at New York State School of Ceramics in Alfred, N.Y., earning a master's of fine arts degree in 1958. He managed the Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts in Helena, Mont., from 1958 to 1964. From 1964 on he was he was head of the ceramics department at Kansas City Art Institute, where in 1996, his year of 'retirement', he became professor emeritus in ceramics. In 1981 he was voted one of the 12 greatest living potters in a readers' survey by Ceramics Monthly magazine. His students include many successful contemporary ceramicists including Chris Gustin, Richard Notkin, Akio Takamori, Kurt Weiser and others. This success can probably be attributed to Ferguson's teaching philosophy, which was to give every student whatever he or she needed to become a successful artist potter, while at the same time encouraging them to develop their own styles. After his retirement, Ferguson continued to give workshops and demonstrations. His work is included in numerous public collections including the Everson Museum of Art; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Mint Museum of Craft and Design; Carnegie Museum and the Charles Wustem Museum of Art. In 1995 his legacy both as an artist and as a teacher was surveyed in two exhibitions, Ken Ferguson: Retrospective at the Nelson/Atkins Museum, Kansas City and Keepers of the Flame: Ken Ferguson’s Circles at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City.

Title of work: Tea Bowl
Date of item: 1984
Signed: A large “F” is stamped into the bottom of the piece
Dimensions: 4” h x 4”w (10.16 x 10.16 cm)
Description: A rather large teabowl with an approx. 3/8” high foot. The shape is rounded and somewhat squat with soft, rounded edges throughout. The exterior is covered in a semi-translucent white, glossy glaze that shows the darker clay underneath. There is a rough-hewn, primitive quality to the piece. There are many small flecks and inconsistencies to the cup which are inherent to the nature of the process.

Material: stoneware
Technique: high fire; salt glazing
Medium: ceramic
Country of origin: U.S.A.
Condition: Good from condition report dated January 21, 2010.

Provenance: Gift
Donor information: Garth Clark, Garth Clark Gallery, New York
History of object: Received at San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts as a gift from Garth Clark of Garth Clark Gallery, New York, in December 2006

Cataloger name: K. Zimmerly
Date: Dec. 6, 2010
Sources used: artist file; website:;