Nan Jacobsohn | Ceramic Sculptor

Nan Jacobsohn Ceramic Sculptor

Mud Puddle Pottery Harpeth Art Center

Nan Jacobsohn Ceramic SculptorMuch of Nan's work, on the surface, may seem to be about horses. Make no mistake, she is passionate about horses, loves spending time with them and enjoys portraying the image of horses in my artwork.

Most artists create autobiographical work to some extent and in that vein, Nan will admit her horses are actually self-portraits and portraits of women in general.

It is her theory that the reason so many young women go through a "horse phase" is because we desire that power and beauty embodied in the horse. She knows that horses' spirits are never truly conquered by their caretakers.

They have a secret life that they do not share with us. In like manner, as women, there is a secret self that the circumstances of our life can never take from us. Nan tires to give a glimpse into some of these secrets in her work.



1970 BA Art Education, Pasadena College, Pasadena, California
2000 MLAS Fine Art, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee**
1970-1980 High School Art Teacher, California, Massachusetts, Georgia Public Schools
1987-1990 Teacher, Cheekwood Estate and Gardens, Nashville, Tennessee
1992—Teaching Artist, Tennessee Arts Commission
1990-1994 Director of Education, Cheekwood Estate and Gardens, Nashville Tennessee
1994-1995 Executive Director, Historic Traveler’s Rest Plantation and Museum, Nashville, Tennessee
1996—Studio Artist, Sole Proprietor, The Clay Horse Studio, Sparta, Tennessee 


Nan's sculpture often includes the horse as a central figure. Her pieces are most often created with slabs of clay, hand building with coils, and sculpting solid before hollowing. She builds a sculpture in solid form, and when it has became leather hard, she cuts it apart and hollows out the interior and then re-assembles it.

Nancy Jacobsohn uses several techniques in firing and finishing her work. Saggar firing, cold finishes and mixed media are a part of finishing and surfaces. Some of her work is hand painted with underglazes, and she often fires a piece several times until she gets her desired effects. Nan most often uses the horse to help tell these stories, either as a symbol for women, or in some cases a life's journeys. She believes this particular animal relates to women and she says that young girls are ultimately drawn to the beauty and power that radiates from the horse.

In addition, Nan uses a variety of symbols and iconography to help tell these autobiographical narratives in her work. She credits her initial interests in visual arts to her grandmother, a home arts specialist and rug maker. Her daughter, Beth Cavener continues the family legacy as a ceramic sculptor, also focusing on animals.

Public Collections
Southern Highland Craft Guild,   Asheville, North Carolina
Tennessee State Museum,
Nashville, Tennesse
Webb School Library, Bell Buckle, Tennessee