Joan Ulrich is gaining a reputation for making elegant, sometimes playful, ceramic forms. Her keen attention to the details of functionality, her simple palette, pleasing shapes, and versatile workmanship reveal an artist of some sophistication. 

Joan has been devoted to working in clay since 1996 when she began as a student at Lill Street Studios in Chicago. Later, she taught ceramics for four years at two studios in New York City.Currently, she is a resident artist at The Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton, VA and a member of the Torpedo Factory Arts Center in Alexandria.  Joan teaches ceramics at The WAC as well as The Art League School in Alexandria.

Although her passion for ceramics began in 1996, her artistic development began in childhood with drawing and painting. A degree in Scientific Illustration from Northern Illinois University led to the botany department at The Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago where she worked with ethno-botanist Timothy Plowman. There, she performed the plant dissections and made illustrations of his new species for publication. Joan has worked as a surface designer, making abstract collages into greeting cards, and selling them as artwork for gift-wrap. She continues to draw the figure, her primary inspiration for personal work.

Joan avidly follows international cultures, both fine and functional art, and human nature. She feels that curiosity doesn’t permit any comfort zone for very long and says, “The creative path doesn’t end. There is always that ‘next thing’ to achieve, whether it is reconsidering my creative intentions, or mastery of a particular technical challenge. What grabs me now is making unexpected choices, hopefully producing quietly surprising pots.”


Joan Ulrich
1234 Shenandoah Road
Alexandria, VA 22308

email | 703-229-3563