2005 – North Andover, Massachusetts
From the intricate tip of an asparagus spear to the delicate curls and veins of Boston lettuce leaves to the vibrant orange of a fall pumpkin, Katherine Houston’s art is all about the details. Katherine creates exquisite porcelain masterpieces, painstakingly recreating fruits, vegetables, leaves and flowers. She is one of a few artists who carry on the complicated technique of sculpting hard paste porcelain and decorating it with a seemingly endless variety of color glazes. She’s influenced by ancient Imperial Chinese and Meissen porcelains, and her work is collected throughout the United States, Europe, South America and Japan. She has exhibited at the New York Ceramics Fair and has pieces in the Peabody-Essex Museum in Salem, Mass., which houses an internationally-acclaimed porcelain collection. Katherine grew up in Columbus, Ohio and says her earliest childhood memories are of playing in a stream where she created clay dishes out of the mud. She loved drawing and painting in watercolors and oil. She studied painting in Paris, and attended the University of Michigan. For years, she focused on watercolor painting, which she credits for much of her success. But on a trip to London in the 1980s, she discovered the works of the porcelain sculptor Anne Gordon. She was attracted to the brilliant colors reminiscent of 18th century European porcelain, and although she had never worked with the medium, she instantly felt at ease with the art. And that began her passion for porcelain. “Porcelain is like a thoroughbred: nervous, excitable and high-strung, until it is trained and mastered … then performing magnificently,” she said. Katherine is married to Dr. Theodore Ongaro and has four children. Her personal battle with chronic pain has led her to become an advocate for depression research and physical rehabilitation medicine.