Cynthia Siegel

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.

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.

Professional Highlights



California Sculpture, National Sculpture Society, New York, NY

Unlimited Potential, Ceramic Figurines, Yingge Ceramics Museum,  New Taipei City, Taiwan

California Clay Competition, The Artery, Davis, CA12th China International Art Fair, Changchun, China

12th Annual International Human Form in Art, Hilliard Gallery, Kansas City, MO

Your Vote is Your Voice, Pajaro Valley Arts Gallery, Watsonville, CA


Invisible Borders Ceramic Invitational, The Galleries at CCBC, Rosedale, MD

Showing Up with Care, Euphrat Museum of Art, Cupertino, CA

Catalysts, Cabrillo Gallery, Aptos, CA


Yingge Ceramics Museum, Taipei City, Taiwan, 2018

Sanskriti Kendra, New Delhi, India, 2016

Maihol House, Maihar, Madhya Pradesh, India, 2015

Tainan National University of the Arts, Tainan City, Taiwan, 2012

Sanskriti Kendra, New Delhi, India, 2011

Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts, Newcastle, ME, 2009

Teaching Appointments

2008 – PRESENT

Adjunct Faculty, Ceramics, Cabrillo College, Aptos, CA
Courses: Handbuilding; Wheelforming; Independent Studies; Intermediate Ceramics; Ceramics Process; Expressive Figure In Clay.

2007 – PRESENT

Adjunct Faculty, Ceramics, Foothill College, Los Altos Hills, CA
Courses: Beginning Ceramics/Handbuilding; Advanced Ceramics; Honors Special Projects in Art; Independent Studies; Ceramic Sculpture; Studio Art Seminar: Ceramics; Beginning Potter’s Wheel.

2006 – 2007

Adjunct Faculty, Weaving, Monterey Peninsula College, Monterey, CA

Walnut Creek Civic Arts, Ceramics Instructor: Figure in Clay (ceramic sculpture); Decorating Techniques;Carving on Clay: An Intensive.

2004 – 2005

San Jose State University, Graduate Teaching Associate
Courses: Beginning Ceramics; 3D Design

Professional Organizations

Association of Clay and Glass Artists (ACGA)

Fulbright Association

National Council on Education in the Ceramic Arts (NCECA)

National Sculpture Society (NSS)

Pajaro Valley Arts

Printmakers at the Tannery (PATT)

Santa Cruz Art League (SCAL)