Jay Clay to feature memorial exhibit celebrating potter Paul Z. Nowicki (1941-2015)

Paul Nowicki, Norte Maar, Craigardan

When the 4th Annual Jay Invitational of Clay opens this week it will feature, in addition to the 30+ artists from the Adirondack Region and including ceramic artists from Brooklyn, North Carolina, Georgia and Boston, a memorial exhibition celebrating potter Paul Z. Nowicki (1941-2015). The exhibition, titled “The Mark We Leave Behind: selected works by Paul Z. Nowicki,” will be held in the main tent on the grounds of the Jay House in tandem with the Jay Invitational of Clay. Opening reception will be Fri, Jul 14, 6-9pm. The exhibition will run through the weekend, Sat + Sun, 9am-6pm.

“The driving force behind Jay Clay is to provide a platform for the public to engage with a selected group of amazing artists that live and work here in the Adirondacks,” explains Norte Maar Founding Director Jason Andrew, “this exposure is an opportunity for us all to come together as a community and celebrate what’s new in ceramic arts. We are honored this year to present a small yet cohesive exhibition of one of the Adirondacks most dedicated and generous artists, Paul Nowicki.”

This special exhibition, presented in collaboration with Craigardan, is curated by Nowicki’s widow Barbara Tam. “When a person passes and they are not here any more,” Barbara explained, “there is something about the mark, the mark that was made by this living person. That mark that we leave behind. Whatever that is. And I hold on to that because these are the marks of life–the marks of Paul’s livingness.” The exhibition features clay sculpture and pottery created by Nowicki between 1982-2015.

Paul Nowicki, Norte Maar, CraigardanPaul Z . Nowicki (1941-2015) was born in Warsaw, Poland and came to the U.S at the age of 6 with his parents, both accomplished architects. He attended Friends Central School in Philadelphia and went on to Cornell to study architecture. His art was an expression of his values and aesthetic sense, and often a reflection of his cultural background and experience.

Throughout his life, Paul was interested in the process that creates form from a given material. He worked in a variety of genres including printmaking, bronze casting, and wood carving, but clay sculpture was his favorite. Having studied ceramics in the Japanese tradition, Paul would state that “I throw for the sense of discipline in that process with great attention and humility”. His life-long inspiration was the form of the teabowl. Inspired by natural patterns and mathematical concepts in his sculpture, he sought to integrate ideas seemingly disparate into simple but harmonious visual form. And he loved stones, both those he found and those he made.

Norte Maar, Paul NowickiPaul not only worked in a studio, he was often the designer and builder of it. For many years, he restored older homes and built new ones and freely offered his design services to anyone who asked. He earned a masters degree in education with a major in studio art [sculpture] from Penn State University. His master’s thesis, written in 1977, was entitled A Planning Criteria for an Art Center Community. The paper outlined a concept for a place of creative learning that would evolve an integrative and communal site for artistic work. This thesis and the hope behind it became the basis for Hurricane Mountain Clay Studio in 2000, and now Craigardan.

Norte Maar, Paul Nowicki

Norte Maar, Paul Nowicki


  1. Kari Allen

    Many, many fonds memories of Paul as we worked together at CTT fin late 80s – 90s. Makes me happy to see Paul honored for his contributions. He is smiling I am sure. Love his son Stefan to the moon! Kari the Nurse

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