Moon House

Image of stoneware, Moon House, by Marejon Sue Shrode, 1957.
by Marejon Sue Shrode, stoneware, 1957

Moon House, created in 1957, clearly reveals Shrode’s full grasp of the fine art versus craft debate.  Here, Shrode shapes the vessel form into fine art, showing the influences of Abstract Expressionism and Asian pottery techniques, while constructing innovative flowing relationships of positive form and negative space.  

From the late 1940s to the 1960s, Mount Vernon, Illinois, native Marejon Sue Shrode (1924-2017) would meet and work with some of the most prominent potters and artists in the world of clay: Shōji Hamada, Soyetsu Yanagi, Bernard Leach, Peter Voulkos, and Marguerite Wildenhain.  

Born in 1924, Shrode moved to California to study at UCLA in 1946.  She and her friends began high fire reduction firing, among the first to do so in southern California.  Shrode would ultimately take workshops with Shōji Hamada and Bernard Leach at Mills College in Oakland, California, and Chouinard Art Institute, Los Angeles.  In the 1950s, Shrode studied with Marguerite Wildenhain at the famed potter and teacher’s home, Pond Farm, on the Russian River, Guerneville, California. In 1954, Peter Voulkos was teaching at LA County Art Institute where Shrode attended his lectures and studied firsthand his groundbreaking innovations. Around 1964, Shrode came back to Mt Vernon after 18 years in southern California learning the craft and philosophies of pottery making.  

In many ways, Marejon Sue Shrode remains the artistic heart of Mt. Vernon.  Shrode would work tirelessly in her hometown until her death in 2017, promoting and encouraging young and old alike to pursue the arts.