Artist Statement

My ceramic sculpture focuses on the expressive possibilities of the figure, exploring how the inner workings of thought, imagination, and longing manifest externally on the figurative form. I consider the beauty that comes from the passage of time, and I seek to create figurative work that celebrates the human connection to the natural world. With a lifelong reverence for anatomical structure, I carve a diverse range of imagery into the surfaces of my work, from the roughly ridged textures of a tree trunk to the classic swirling of a flowing garment. This imagery is fueled by a love of storytelling, anthropology and natural history. I look to elicit a slight startle, perhaps a smile, and then a feeling of recognition and of empathy. Looking back through my creative trajectory, and gazing forward, the link throughout is rooted in my desire to connect, empower and include.

Sculpture, Pottery, and Works on Paper

Award-winning sculptor and 2014-2015 Fulbright-Nehru Scholar to India, Ms. Cynthia Siegel began working in clay in 1989 in order to express her delight in beauty, and in the pleasure of making beautiful objects for everyday use. Soon after an informal five-month apprenticeship in Jerusalem, Ms. Siegel lived and worked for seven years as a full-time studio potter in Bishop, CA


Her pottery forms and surfaces took inspiration from both the rugged local landscapes surrounding her home, and her travel experiences in Asia. In particular, traveling through the temples of South India sparked an evolution of Ms. Siegel’s work — she began to focus on the expressive possibilities of the figure. Ms. Siegel explores the narrative potential of how the physical body might wear its emotional experiences, developing a textured skin of imagery that is fueled by a love of storytelling, anthropology and natural history. 

Image Credit: Amit Srivastava

Exhibitions & Awards

Ms. Siegel exhibits her sculpture and works on paper nationally and internationally, receiving awards at the Taiwan Ceramics Biennale and the Cheongju International Craft Biennale. Her work is part of many public and private collections, and is included in such publications as Ceramics Today, Ceramic Art and Perception, and 500 Figures in Clay. Ms. Siegel has presented lectures and workshops in India, Israel, Taiwan, China, New Zealand, and the U.S. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania, her MFA from San Jose State University, and she currently teaches in the ceramics department at Cabrillo College. Ms. Siegel lives and works in Santa Cruz, CA.