Harding Black (1912-2004), Early lava glaze bowl, 1937, Witte Museum stamp, glazed ceramic, 3.25 x 5.5"
A ceramist, sculptor, painter, bricklayer, teacher, Black was born on a farm in Nueces County between Ingleside and Aransas Pass and moved with his family to San Antonio in 1916. There he graduated from Brackenridge High School and attended San Antonio Junior College (1929-30). In 1931 Black joined an archaeological expedition to the Big Bend area sponsored by the Witte Memorial Museum. Initially a painter, he was taught by Rudolph Staffel in 1933 to make wheel- thrown pottery and in the same year began to teach children's ceramic classes at the Witte. Between 1937 and 1939, Black directed ceramic installation in a San Antonio reconstruction project sponsored by the National Youth Administration and the Works Progress Administration art program. In 1955 he retired from teaching and devoted his time to ceramics. Black became a well-known ceramist from his research, innovations, and writings in the field. Black's Collection and Archive is housed at Baylor University. Harding Black's work with clay serves an an important bridge between early Texas and mid-century pottery.