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EXPLORE: Claire Partington

Note to Teachers: 
Some content  may be challenging or too mature for younger viewers.  Please scan all material to determine whether it is appropriate for your students. 

Information and resources were compiled by Wendi Oster, Visual Arts Specialist at Platte Valley Middle School in Kersey , Colorado

“Most of us don’t think about where luxury items come from.” - Claire Partington

Davis, B. (2019, January 9). At SAM, a ceramic artist breaks into the Porcelain Room. Crosscut. (para 14)

Clair Partington


Claire Partington is a ceramic sculptor who appropriates the iconic figure of the historical past and reinvents them with a twist depicting contemporary society. Partington curates the figures for display as if priming their personalities for the perfect selfie shot for social media. These figures bridge thresholds of culture, history, and individual identity to create surreal social dialogs examining immigration, gender roles, and feminism.  Rich and complex dynamics of culture are questioned through the interplay of the autonomy of the figures and the way the  viewer interprets  historical motifs and poses.

Artist Website 

Claire Partington


Social Media



Snapshot Claire Partington
This is a brief 2-page interview with Partington that answers questions about gender and her own artistic process and success.  
(Beautiful Bizarre, March, 2021 ) 

Ceramic Figurines by Claire Partington Put a Contemporary Twist on Historical Symbols
The art website Colossal gives a quick overview of her work. 
(Ebert, G., January 11, 2022) 

Figurative Ceramic Vessels by Claire Partington Combine Animal Traits with Historic and Mythical Characters
A short explanation and more quality photos of Partington’s art
(Sierzputowski, K. May 29, 2019) 

IN THE STUDIO: Claire Partington
Describes Partington’s artistic process and influences
(Jan 19.2022) 

Q&A with Claire Partington 
Story, Objects and Contemporary Life
(The Art Circus, January 29, 2013) 




New Perspectives on Porcelain in Claire Partington: Taking Tea

Two minute clip of Claire discussing her installation in the Porcelain Room at the Seattle Art Museum .

 “The figures in the installation are steeped in the rarified luxury and high-end fashion these items once conveyed, but they also expose the degrading aspects of trade—the reality of precarious ocean voyages and human exploitation.”

(Seattle Art Museum, 2013, para 3)


Claire Partington: Britainton

This video shows a wide variety of pieces that Claire has sculpted. It demonstrates the connection to historic pieces while also explaining how it has been adapted and reinvented to discus current day topics.

(James Freeman Gallery, June 7, 2021)


London Making Now: Venus

A curated detailed  description of Partington’s ceramic figure “Venus” that draws myth  while also showing a contemporary entity.

(Museum of London, March 8, 2022)


Topics for Further Inquiry


Jack Zipes, Fairy Tales, Fairy Tale Post Cards

Myths, Legends, and Fairy Tales | Lecture with Jack Zipes

(Weisman Art Museum, July 2, 2019)







Additional Resources 

SCAMPER (Substitute, Combine, Adapt, Modify, Put to another use, Eliminate, Reverse) is a creative thinking tool that could help students identify ways that Partington changes historic canonized images of art history into a contemporary figure for today. 
(Eberly, B., 2008, Scamper: Creative Games and Activities for Imagination Development Combined Ed., Grades 2-8, Routledge) 
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