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Imperfectly Perfect

Berkeley-based artist Rae Dunn uses the art of imperfection in her line of pottery.


Rae Dunn

Rae Dunn would be the first to tell you that her pottery isn’t perfect. She shapes everything by hand, so it’s not unusual for a bowl to come with a handprint or crack. “Things that are uneven and wonky—they have more soul and more character,” she says.

The Berkeley-based artist creates dishware in addition to other housewares and commemorative plaques for weddings and birthdays. Dunn is inspired by the Japanese aesthetic of wabi-sabi, the beauty of things imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete. She also brings a simple purist sensibility to her work: Most pieces are finished with plain white glaze, and maybe a splash of green, a few stripes of gray, or a single word.

Recently, her emphasis has evolved from functional to fine art, such as watercolor paintings on porcelain framed in shadow boxes. “I’ve always been driven to be artistic,” she says. “It’s not what I do, it’s who I am. It’s how I live every minute of my life.”

For more information, go to raedunn.com. 

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