Patti Warashina papers, circa 1900]-1991, bulk, 1970-1989

A Finding Aid to the Patti Warashina Papers, circa 1900-1991, bulk 1970-1989, in the Archives of American Art, by Rosa Fernandez

Download PDF Version of this page [Download PDF Version]

Table of Contents:

Biographical Information

Ceramicist and sculptor Patti Warashina was born in 1940 as Masae Patricia Warashina in Spokane, Washington to third generation Japanese emigrants. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Washington, Seattle, where she studied with sculptors Robert Sperry, Harold Myers, Rudy Autio, Shoji Hamada, Shinsaku Hamada, and Ruth Penington. She received her first solo exhibition in 1962 at the Phoenix Art Gallery in Seattle the same year she graduated with an M.F.A. from the University of Washington. Warashina later married fellow student Fred Bauer and from 1964 to 1970 exhibited as Patti Bauer.

Influences in Warashina's art include California funk and sculptural ceramics. Her work is best known for its whimsical themes expressed through low-fire highly colored figurative images. Together with fellow artists Robert Sperry, Howard Kottler and Fred Bauer, she brought national recognition to the department of ceramics at the University of Washington's School of Art beginning in the 1980s.

Patti Warashina is a recipient of several awards for achievements in the field of crafts, most recently the Twining Humber Award granted by Seattle's Artists Trust in 2002. She received the Governor's Award of Special Commendation for the Arts in 1980 in addition to grants from the National Endowment for the Arts in both 1975 and 1986. In 1978, Warashina was awarded a World Craft Council Travel Grant which allowed her to conduct research on the ceramic arts process in Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Bali and the Philippines. Warashina's teaching career spans over 30 years and includes positions at the University of Wisconsin, Eastern Michigan University, and at her alma mater where she has taught for over 25 years. Her work is featured in several museum collections in both the U.S. and abroad including the American Craft Museum in New York, the Seattle Art Museum and Henry Art Gallery, the Smithsonian American Art Museum's Renwick Gallery (Washington, DC), the Art Gallery of Western Australia, and the Ichon World Ceramic Center in Korea. Since her marriage to ceramicist Robert Sperry in 1976, she has used Patti Warashina as her professional name. Patti Warashina is a resident of Seattle, Washington.

Return to top

Overview of the Collection

Scope and Contents

The Patti Warashina papers measure 4.8 linear feet and date from circa 1900 and 1957 through 1991 (bulk 1970-1989). The collection documents the artistic and teaching career of Seattle-based sculptor and ceramicist Patti Warashina predominantly through correspondence and printed material reflecting the many ceramic and craft exhibitions and other projects Warashina participated in throughout the United States, and her associations with other ceramicists. Also included are biographical documents, writings, art works, several photographs, and a video.

Biographical material includes family trees, diplomas, awards, and documents relating to Warashina's family Japanese internment during WWII. Correspondence, 1968-1991, relating to exhibitions and other projects, is with galleries, museums, purchasers, publishers, and others, among them the Lee Nordness Gallery (N.Y.), Morgan Gallery (Kansas City), and Theo Portney Gallery (Seattle). Additional correspondence files contain letters received, 1977-1990, many addressed to Warashina and her husband Bob (Robert Sperry), from friends, colleagues, former students and family members, including Nancy Carmen, Anne Currier, Deborah Horrell, Matthew Kangas, Howard Kottler, Marvin Lipofsky, Michael Lucero, and others.

Ten photographs, circa 1900-1944, are portraits of Warashina's relatives and family, and several snapshots, circa 1970s, are of former students and works of art. Printed material, 1961-1990, includes newspaper and magazine clippings, programs, journals, newsletters, exhibition announcements, exhibition catalogs, and workshop announcements for Warashina's various sculpture and ceramic lectures. Writings include both published and unpublished works by Warashina, including an artist's statement for a possible lecture at the 1986 conference of the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA). Also found here are handwritten notes on a panel discussion titled Cultural and Racial Heritage: Sources and Imagery in which Warashina was a participant along with artists Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson, MarĂ­a Brito Avellana, and Indira Johnson. Art work consists of blue line drawings for her sculpture "Red Earth," 1986 as well as a pen and ink sketch of Warashina by an unidentified artist. A videocassette, 1987, is of the television program "The Big A: Different Ways of Seeing", in which Warashina appears briefly.

Arrangement and Series Description

The Patti Warashina papers are arranged as seven series based primarily on type of material. The correspondence in Series 2 is arranged chronologically for exhibitions and projects and general letters received. Additional letters received are arranged by name of author.

Subjects and Names

This collection is indexed in the online catalog of the Archives of American Art under the following terms:


  • Currier, Anne, 1950-
  • Kottler, Howard, 1930-1989
  • Lipofsky, Marvin B. (Marvin Bentley), 1938-
  • Lucero, Michael, 1953-
  • Sperry, Robert, 1927-
  • Lee Nordness Galleries


  • Women sculptors -- Washington (State) -- Seattle
  • Asian American women artists
  • Women artists -- Washington (State) -- Seattle
  • Japanese American families -- Photographs
  • Ceramicists -- Washington (State) -- Seattle
  • Japanese American sculptors
  • Sculptors -- Washington (State) -- Seattle

Types of Materials:

  • Video recordings
  • Photographs


The Patti Warashina papers were donated by the artist to the Archives of American Art in 1991.

How the Collection was Processed

Processing of the Patti Warashina papers was completed by Jill Lundin and Rosa Fernandez in 1994 and 2003.

How to Use the Collection

Restrictions on Use

The collection is open for research. Use requires an appointment.

Ownership & Literary Rights

The Patti Warashina papers are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.

How to Cite this Collection

Patti Warashina papers, circa 1990-1991, bulk 1970-1989. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

Return to top

Detailed Description and Container Inventory

Series 1: Biographical Material, 1974-1991, undated
(Box 1; 3 folders)

This series houses certificates of awards, diplomas, and a family history and genealogy of the Warshina family with notations written in Japanese.

1 Biographical Material 1974-1991, undated
(3 folders)

Series 2: Correspondence, 1957, 1967-1991, undated
(Boxes 1-3; 2 linear feet)

Exhibition correspondence relating to the many ceramic and craft exhibitions and art projects in which Warashina participated throughout the United States and abroad. Letters Received discuss personal and professional matters and are addressed both to Warashina and her husband Robert (Bob) Sperry. Exhibition Correspondence is arranged chronologically by year. Letters Received are arranged in alphabetical order by name of correspondent except for "Letters Received, General," which are arranged chronologically.

1 Correspondence, Exhibitions and Projects, 1957, 1967-1984
(21 folders)
2 Correspondence, Exhibitions and Projects, 1985-1991, undated
(16 folders)
2 Letters Received, General, 1957, 1977-1990, undated
(16 folders)
3 Letters Received, Bitar, Helen, 1976-1990, undated
3 Letters Received, Carman, Nancy, 1978-1990, undated
3 Letters Received, Currier, Anne, 1975-1989, undated
3 Family, 1979-1990, undated
(3 folders)
3 Former Students (A-Y), circa 1970-1990
(2 folders)
3 Horrell, Deborah, 1980-1989, undated
3 Kangas, Matthew, 1980-1990, undated
3 Kottler, Howard, 1980-1988, undated
3 Lipofsky, Marvin, 1980-1990
3 Lucero, Michael, 1979-1990, undated
3 Nordness, Lee, 1982-1988, undated
3 Schwartz, Judy, 1980-1988, undated
3 Tielman, Betsy, 1983-1986, undated

Series 3: Photographs, circa 1900 - circa 1959, 1971, undated
(Box 3; 3 folders)

3 Photographs, circa 1900 - circa 1959, 1971, undated
(3 folders)

Series 4: Printed Material, 1961-1990, undated
(Boxes 3-6, OV 7; 2 linear feet

This series houses English and Japanese exhibition announcements and catalogs for group and solo shows, newspaper and magazine clippings, programs, art journals, and newsletters. Also found are announcements for publications, workshop announcements for several of Warashina's lectures on sculpture and ceramics, and a 1977 catalog for the University of Washington's School of Art located in Seattle. The catalog includes reproductions of artwork and biographical information on faculty members Jacob Lawrence, Norman Lundin, Alden Mason, Boyer Gonzales, Michael Spafford, Robert Sperry, and Patti Warashina. The series also includes the book, Clay's the Way by Gene Kleinsmith, about various clay techniques used in ceramics.

3 Advertisements for Publications, 1986-1987, undated
3 Exhibition Announcements, 1970-1990, undated
(7 folders)
3 Exhibition Announcements, Posters (See Also OV 7), 1971-1989, undated
(3 folders)
3 Exhibition Catalogs, 1961-1964
(2 folders)
4 Exhibition Catalogs, 1965-1989
(16 folders)
5 (hol) Exhibition Catalogs, 1990, undated
(3 folders)
5 (hol) Journals and Newsletters, 1976-1989, undated
5 (hol) Kleinsmith, Gene, Clay's the Way, 1981
5 (hol) Newspaper Clippings, 1970-1990, undated
(7 folders)
5 (hol) Magazine Clippings, 1965, 1971-1990, undated
(2 folders)
6 (hol) Programs and Calendars of Events, 1971-1989, undated
6 (hol) University of Washington's School of Art Catalog, 1977
6 (hol) Workshop Announcements, 1975-1989, undated
6 (hol) Miscellaneous Printed Material (See Also OV 7), 1965, 1981-1990, undated
OV 7 Oversize Exhibition Announcements, Posters, undated
OV 7 Oversize Miscellaneous Printed Material, undated

Series 5: Writings and Notes, 1984, 1986, 1989, undated
(Box 6; 4 folders)

This series includes artist statements by Warashina, undated notes on a panel discussion titled "Cultural and Racial Heritage: Sources and Imagery" and notes regarding exhibition schedules. Also found is a 1984 thesis paper written by Rebecca Sue Bleicher Bloom, "Northwest Women Artists: Images and Ideas" as well as other miscellaneous written material.

6 (hol) Artist Statements by Patti Warashina, 1986, 1989

Series 6: Artwork, 1986, undated
(Box 6; 2 folders)

Series 7: Miscellany, 1987, undated
(Box 6; 2 folders)

Ephemera and a video cassette and accompanying teacher's kit for the program, The Big A: Different Ways of Seeing in which Warashina appears briefly.