Golden resident Sumi von Dassow is well-known in Colorado as a potter and ceramic artist, a teacher and a writer. Her work includes brightly-colored functional pottery, burnished and pit-fired vessels, and ceramic sculpture. She has participated in the Cherry Creek Arts Festival and has won numerous awards in major local and national shows. Her work has appeared in books and magazines, and is in the permanent collections of several arts institutions in the country.
In addition to creating her own innovative work, Sumi heads the pottery program at Lakewood’s Washington Heights Art Center, where she teaches a wide range of pottery classes. She is widely recognized as an expert on pit firing and burnishing, and has led numerous workshops both in Colorado and in other states. She frequently contributes articles about pottery to the magazines Ceramics Monthly and Pottery Making Illustrated, including reviewing books for PMI for many years. Her column for PMI called “The Potter’s Kitchen,” about food and clay, segued into a book “In the Potter’s Kitchen,” published in 2014. This book is about making pottery for cooking, preparing, and serving food, combining her two passions of cooking and pottery. She edited the books Barrel, Pit and Saggar Firing in March, 2001, and Electric Kiln Pottery in February 2003, both published by the American Ceramic Society. Her book Low-firing and Burnishing was released in 2009, as well as a DVD entitled Pit Firing and Burnishing.
Sumi’s pots have been exhibited and won national awards in major juried shows including “Feats of Clay” at the Lincoln Arts Center in Lincoln, California and the Kennedy-Douglass Center for the Arts “Monarch National Ceramic Competition.” Sumi’s work is in the permanent collections of institutions such as the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library in Topeka, Kansas, and the Hoyt Institute of Fine Arts in New Castle, Pennsylvania. Commissioned work includes a tile installation at the Foothills Art Center in Golden.
Sumi was born in Seattle, Washington and began studying ceramics in high school. At the University of Washington she studied under Patti Warashina and the late Howard Kottler. Continuing at San Francisco State University, she studied with Joe Hawley and David Kuraoka, graduating Summa Cum Laude in 1987 with a degree in Art with an Emphasis in Ceramics.