About the Artist

Sandy Blain

Professional Ceramist 

Sandy Blain is Professor Emeritus - Ceramics, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and Director Emeritus - Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, Gatlinburg, TN.  Her background includes a B.S. in Art Education from Northern Illinois University, and a M.F.A. in Ceramics from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.  Having worked in teaching and administration since 1964, she has a diverse background related to educational programming - classes/ conferences/seminars; gallery programming/installations; fund raising; public relations and personnel development.  Her public service work includes involvement with national/regional/state/local craft organizations, often serving as a board member, consultant, conference coordinator, grant reviewer, exhibition juror, or presenter/workshop leader.  As a practicing artist, her clay pieces have been seen in juried and invitational exhibitions throughout the country with reviews and photographs in media publications and catalogs.

After moving to Arizona in 2004, Sandy set-up a ceramic studio working with mid-range stoneware and emphasizing functional vessel forms.  Her work is inspired by nature as well as architecture and industrial objects.  Utilizing handbuilt slab-construction techniques for the simplified forms, and heavily marked / texture impressed surfaces, the combination is enhanced with multiple layers of sprayed glazes.  Surface depth with subtle color variation help to convey a timeless expressive personal statement.

Sandy recently retired from her position as an adjunct faculty member at the Mesa Arts Center, in Mesa, Arizona. ​

She continues to serve on the Advisory Council of the Shemer Art Center, in Phoenix, and serves as a consultant to various national regional arts organizations.  Her studio practice continues to be of utmost importance and she hosts 1 - 2 sales a year at her home studio.


1972     M.F.A. in Ceramics, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI

1967     M.S. in Art, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI

1964     B.S. in Education, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL


2006 - 2023     Adjunct Faculty Mesa Arts Center, Mesa, AZ

2005     Professor Emeritus, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN

1969 - 2004     Faculty, University of Tennessee, School of Art, Knoxville, TN (professor since 1984)

2001     Director Emeritus, Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts

1980 - 2001     Director, Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, Gatlinburg, TN


2018    Trent Berning, A Ceramic Guide:  The Art of Creating and Teaching Wheel-Thrown Ceramics,                                  Photographs, Digital, Cognella Academic Publishing

2017    Potters Council Calendar, Ceramic Arts Daily, "Pots with Flowers"

2014    Potters Council Calendar, Ceramic Arts Daily, "Vases with Flowers", May and July

2013     Potters Council Calendar, Ceramic Arts Daily, "Vases with Flowers", August

2012     Kopp, Linda, The Best of 500 Ceramics, Lark Crafts, p. 285

             Potters Council Calendar, Ceramics Arts Daily, April - General Collection

2011     Potters Council Calendars, Ceramic Arts Daily:  September Mug Collection - October General

             Collection II

2010     Angelica Pozo, Ceramics for Beginners:  Surfaces, Glazing and Firing, Lark Books, p. 52

2009     Anders, K.T., "A Paean to Process:  Sandy Blain's Textures and Glaze Layering",

             Clay Times, #80 - vo. 15,

             cover-pp. 32 - 38

2008     Toourtillott, Suzanne J. E., 500 Platters, Plates & Chargers, Lark Books, p. 401

2004     Zakin, Richard, Electric Kiln Ceramics - Third Edition, Krause Publications, pp. 102, 146

2000     Fariello, Anna, Sandra Blain:  Markings and the Urge to Record, Ceramics Art & Perception,

             #42, pp. 57 - 59

1999     Arkansas Art Center, Living with Form:  The Horn Collection of Contemporary Crafts, Bradley Publishing,

             pp. 120-121

1998     Cushing, Val, The Ceramic Design Book, Lark Books, p. 14


National, Regional, Local - Arts/ Media/ Educational/ Organizations


     Juror for student and professional mixed media, theme and/ or clay exhibitions at the national, regional, state, and local levels. (Several local shows are not listed.)

2016     "Young at Art", Mesa Public Schools, Mesa, AZ

2015     Arizona Arts Commission - Festival Grants Panelist

2013     Arizona Arts Commission - Community Investment Grants Panelist

             "Artists of Promise", Maricopa Community Colleges - Phoenix, AZ

2008     National Society of Arts and Letters - Small Sculpture Exhibition, Paradise Valley, AZ

2007     American Craft Council - Southeast Regional Exhibition, Arrowmont School, Gatlinburg, TN

             Arizona Designer Craftsmen Exhibition, Arizona State University - Gallery 100, Tempe, AZ

2006     Cherry Creek Arts Festival, Denver, CO

             "Changing the World One Thread at a Time", Tubac Center for the Arts, Tubac, AZ

2005     Arizona Designer Craftsmen Exhibition, Tubac Center for the Arts, Tubac, AZ

             Out of the Blues Festival, Harborview Center, Clearwater, FL

2004     Regional Scholastic Art Competition, Arts and Cultural Alliance of Greater Knoxville, Knoxville, TN

             Long-term Operating Support - Organizations, South Carolina Arts Commission, Columbia, SC

             Biennial National Juried Exhibition of Fine Contemporary Crafts, Artspace, Raleigh, NC

2003     Images:  A Festival of the Arts, New Smyrna Beach, FL

             Scholastic Art Exhibition, Arts and Culture Alliance of Greater Konxville, Knoxville, TN

             SOFA - Chicago, curate exhibition for Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah, GA

             Tennessee Association of Craft Artists - Nashville and Chattanooga Fall Fairs - site and awards juror

2002     Lakefront Festival of the Arts, Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee, WI

             Plain Arts IV, International Juried Exhibition, Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg, KS

             Niche Awards, Baltimore, MD

             Regional Scholastic Art Competition, Arts Council of Greater Knoxville, Knoxville, TN

             Nature Takes a Turn:  Woodturning Inspired from the Natural World,

             Minneapolis Museum of American Art, Minneapolis, MN

             Spring Arts Festival, Santa Fe Community College, Gainesville, FL

             Sculpture and Fine Crafts, St. Louis Artists Guild, St. Louis, MO

2001     Ohio State Art Fair, Fine Arts Exhibition, Columbus, OH

             Kentuck Festival, Tuscaloosa, AL

2000     Quill and Kiln:  Ohr Juried Exhibition 2000, Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art, Biloxi, MS

             Arts in the Park:  Fine Arts Festival, Memphis, TN

             Toledo Federation of Art Societies, Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, OH

             Regional Art Market, Knoxville Arts Council, Knoxville, TN

             Handweavers Guild of America Convergence Exhibition - Celebrating the Spirit, Cincinnati, OH

             Spring Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival, Winter Park, FL


American Craft Council - Trustee Emeritus - Honorary Fellow

      The Marks Project, Advisor, 2016-2017

       Sustaining Trustee - 2005

       Education Committee Member, 1998-2004

       Chairman of Awards Committee, 1998-2004, Member 2005

       Search Committee - CEO, 2001-2002

       Trustee, 1997-2004

       Chairman/ Co-chairman for S.E. Conferences, 1979, 1983, 1987, 1993, 1998

       Program Consultant for Annual S.E. Conferences/ Exhibitions, 1980-2002

Arizona State University Ceramic Research Center Artists Advisory Committee, 2005-2010, 2015 -

       Vice-president, 2006-2008, 2018, Chairman, 2008-2010, 2018-2020

Arizona State University Art Museum

Craft Emergency Relief Fund - Board Member, 1993-1998

       Loan Fund Committee Chair, 1996-1998

Foothills Craft Guild - Honorary Member

Gatlinburg Gateway Foundation Member, 1999-2001

Kappa Pi International Honorary Art Fraternity, Honorary Member

Knoxville Museum of Art

National Art Education Association

National Council for Education of Ceramic Artists

Shemer Art Center and Museum

       Advisory Council Member - 2015 - 

Southern Highland Craft Guild -Life Member

       Standards Committee Member, 2001-2004

       Nominating Committee Member, 1988

       Chair/ Co-chair Membership Meetings/ Workshops, 1996, 1998, 2000

       Archives Objectives Committee, 1998

       Future Planning Committee, 1996-2001

Tennessee Artist Craftsmen's Association - Honorary Member

Year of American Craft Celebration, Advisor,1993-1996