Ted Saupe is a ceramic artist living in Athens Georgia. He is teaching art at the University of Georgia, where he has been since 1992. Prior to that, he taught at The University of Tennessee for ten years. Ted received his BFA from the California College of Arts and Crafts in 1972, under Viola Frey and his MFA in 1979 from the University of Wisconsin, where he studied under Don Reitz and Bruce Breckenridge.
A pivotal point in his career occurred during the summer of 1990 when he worked as a consultant on a archaeological research project on the island of Crete in Greece. Since then almost all his work makes reference to a deep and rich narrative tradition found in Minoan pottery. Ted's work owes a debt to the history of ceramics from which he draws inspiration and tremendous insight. His work is in several public and private collections including the DeYoung Museum in San Francisco, CA. He has received grants from the NEA and the South East Center for Contemporary Art. Ted is currently spending most of his studio time to making hand built porcelain cups (tea bowls) on which he treats the surface with autobiographical imagery drawn from life, music and poetry. They are a kind of 3 dimensional graffiti ... cave paintings drawn on the surface of the cave rather than the inside.
In some ways it’s a strange marriage of influences, in other ways it makes sense. I am most directly interested in the utilitarian pottery of the southeastern United States from the 19th and early 20th centuries, and the country pottery of Oribe, Japan. Both styles of pottery were made for the storage and serving of food. Both were fairly simply made with minor decoration and glazing. And both were made in a spirit of directness and respect for the material and the process. I have always loved these pots from different cultures and am really trying to capture some of the freshness and strengths of these two influences.
My work is always autobiographical whether I am working figuratively or architecturally, or even when making vessels. It is always about history and/or age, and always tells a story, a personal narrative. I rely on memory, free association, and daily life events as my subject matter. Most recently my children have been a big part of the picture. Prior to that a trip to Crete to study Minoan archeology was my source of inspiration.