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Local career story – Nationally recognized ceramic artist in Guernville

Marge Margulies in her Guernville studio (top) Marge’s exhibit at The American Craft Council Show, Baltimore (middle) and Marge out standing in her field (bottom image)

Local Career Story #3

MARGE MARGULIES: A Nationally Recognized Ceramic Artist, Here in Sonoma County

Little did I know when I received a fruit bowl as a housewarming gift that it was made by a nationally known ceramic artist who lives not far from me.  Marge is an East Coast transplant who found her true home in Sonoma County, as I did. We both attended college in Philadelphia and even went to some of the same Bruce Springsteen and Janice Ian concerts!
Growing up, Marge was an unusually intuitive little girl. She knew what was right for her. She remembers when she first got her hands in clay at the age of 6 . She felt a powerful and visceral feeling of attraction, knowing she loved it and wanted to do it, more and more, and forever!

That began a lifelong dedication to fine arts with a specific focus in the ceramic arts.

Luckily, being the child of an artist, Irving Margulies, a noted abstract expressionist in the 1960s,
Marge was encouraged in her passion and attended art classes throughout her childhood.
And exactly 30 years after her father enrolled in the Philadelphia Academy of Art, Marge entered the college.
Though her Dad tragically died when Marge was only 5 yrs old, she has been influenced by him, his work and his memory. She knew her destiny was to continue the Margulies art tradition. She has always lived with her Dad’s paintings around her, and interestingly, the distinctive and vibrant color palette of her father’s work is clearly seen in Marge’s work as well.

When Marge attended art college the focus was on studying and making art.
Many students went on to become art teachers, but Marge, true to herself, wanted to keep her hands in clay and
work in the studio. To do that she needed to figure out how to make a living at it.  Like many creative artists, she had a day job in restaurants for several years and gradually transitioned into full time art. She can now proudly claim  27  years of earning her living 100% as an artist.

(painting by Irv Margulies)

Marge submitted her work to notable ceramic shows and was readily accepted into many of them. Once in the shows, her work was purchased by wholesalers, galleries and the public . Her work has sold throughout the nation and is in many museum shops including the de Young in San Francisco. Marge’s work has been included in the Smithsonian Craft Show five times. And she has regularly exhibited at The American Craft Council’s flagship show in Baltimore.

Marge moved out to Sonoma County almost a decade ago. She had family in California and as she and her sister scouted different areas, she was viscerally attracted to Sonoma County. In fact, the first day they drove around Marge saw a for sale sign in Guernville, and stopped to look. Once she stood on on the deck of the home she knew it was ‘her place’ and within 2 hours it was– and within 2 months she had met her core group of friends; many of them artists of different kinds. She loves the quiet she finds living and working from her home studio.

Marge’s passion is in creating work inspired from the forms of nature and in creating beautiful and distinctive work that is both aesthetically pleasing and functional. Her newest work, inspired by succulents, explores how forms fit into one another. She is always considering the dimensions of color, form, texture, surface and line.

Another distinctive aspect of her work is that it begs to be touched. When I opened my fruit bowl gift
I just wanted to hold it and stroke it. It was so smooth and lovely.  Some of the textures she creates have a delicious surface, and her glazes are unusually  rich, with each surface fully saturated with color.

(One of Marge’s new succulent ceramic pieces)

Marge is an artist who always aims to evolve. Each winter she challenges herself to come up with something new. This year’s innovation is really something. You can see it in the display of her work in the middle image above. Look closely to see how the edges of the work look like they are sculpted and match the work on the base. Right now she’s fascinated by the use of a precision measuring tool which has surprisingly led to an extra layer of fluidity.

Marge’s statement to me about her work:

” I’ve always been activated by my own ideas. The color and shape of my work is done to please me, and I feel so fortunate that others respond to it, too. Joan, you started with a fruit bowl and now you’ve become a serious collector of my work, thank you! And I feel so appreciative that I have clients who have been collecting my art pieces for over 20 years. And I’d like to mention my love of my community, a place of art lovers, sensitive and intelligent people who  come together for community and care for one another and for our environment. Sonoma County is a continual source of inspiration.”

Marge also invites us all to visit her studio either by appointment or when it’s open to the public for Art at the Source, an amazing program that allows you to visit Sonoma County artists right in their studios, watch them work, talk to them, consider purchasing a piece. Art at the Source Open Studio event is the first 2 weekends of June.

You can also see Marge’s work at:

Bubble Street Gallery, Sausalito

Russian River Art Gallery, Guernville

Healdsburg Center for the Arts, Headsburg

And please, dear readers, send me your ideas for more local career stories!

Onward to your career success,

Coach Joan

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