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Nan Jacobsohn

(b. 1948) lived in Fairview, TN, moved to Montana
Stick House, 2010
handbuilt clay sculpture, glaze and underglaze, 32-36 inches tall

Jacobsohn graduated from Pasadena College with a bachelor’s degree in Art Education and received a master’s degree from Vanderbilt University in Nashville. After teaching high school art in California, Massachusetts, and Georgia, she spent the next seven years as a museum educator and director at the Cheekwood Estate and Gardens in Nashville. She then moved on to become the  executive director at the Historic Traveler’s Rest Plantation and Museum. Her work is in the permanent collections of the Tennessee State Museum in Nashville, Webb School Library in Bell Buckle, and the Southern Highland Craft Guild in Asheville, NC. Currently she teaches sculpture workshops nationwide.

Stick House tells the story of an artist. This ceramic totem sculpture begins at the base with a book of fairytales and the story of the pigs and the stick house. On top of the pig is a dancing ballerina. Jacobsohn says this totem is her representation of the fragility and tenacity of artists making a living with their craft, dancing and living their dreams before the wolf comes. This is one of Jacobsohn’s favorite works as it represents her time as an artist in Tennessee. Learn more about her work here.

The Bird Woman Sculpture, 2000, ceramic, 28 x 18 x 16 inches, 2001.32

“My work is definitely autobiographical and I choose to create from my own experience because I can communicate those subjects with a passion. Superficially, I seem to have two basic directions; horses and women. In reality they are the same. I use a lot of personal symbolism in my work. I use horses often to represent lifes journey and to represent myself. A friend once referred to my female subjects as issue prices. It is never my intention for my pieces representing women to be in any way anti male, but only what it is like to be a woman. I work with clay because I love the fact that I interact directly with the material. There are few tools to get in the way of the creative process. I am also a closet pyromaniac. and love working with fire. The natural origins of clay appeal to me also. There are many layers to a piece of work. It may be amusement at my visual jokes, a thoughtful moment or a theme that resonates with their own life or a shape, surface or line that attracts their eye.” – Jacobsohn