Biography

I grew up in Connecticut where my father was a painter and illustrator who supported his family his family of four with his work. My mother was the handiest woman I ever met. I loved watching my father work and art was the only thing I ever got praise for in high school so I ended up at the Kansas City Art Institute where I fell under the spell of ceramics and Ken Ferguson. I went on to study with Wayne Higby and got a graduate degree from RISD.

I then moved, with my husband/potter Richard Hensley, to rural Floyd, VA in the Blue Ridge Mountains to set up our studio, where we have always lived and worked and raised a family. I have always been a studio potter and sculptress with more than the occasional teaching experiences thrown in. I have taught at most of the craft/art schools over the years such as Penland, Anderson Ranch, Banff Center, Arrowmont...

I have taught summer programs at several colleges such as University of Michigan and Alfred University. I have been an artist in residence in Turkey, Jingdezhen, China, and the Archie Bray Foundation. I live every summer now in a remote village in Liguria, Italy and teach in Tuscany at La Meridiana School for Ceramics. I have been honored by the NEA with 2 artists fellowships and received a Virginia Museum artists grant. I am currently the director of "Women Working with Clay"- an annual symposium that takes place at Hollins University where I teach part time, as well as the adjunct curator for ceramics at the Taubman Museum.

Education

Rhode Island School of Design - MAT - 1974

Kansas City Art Institute - BFA - 1972

Grants

National Endowment of the Arts Visual Arts Fellowship - 1986

Virginia Museum Artists Fellowship - 1984

National Endowment of the Arts Craftsman Fellowship - 1978

Teaching

Haystack Mountain School of Crafts - Open Door — Deer Isle, ME October 9-12 2015

The Bascom - "Essence of the Figure" - Highlands, NC - October 2012

China-Jingdezhen Institute of Ceramics - November-December 2012

Appalachian Center of Crafts - Smithville, TN 2008

La Meridiana School of Ceramics - Certaldo, Italy Summer 2007 - 2016

Anderson Ranch Art Center, Snowmass, CO - Summer 2006

Penland School of Crafts, North Carolina - June/July-2005

Jingdezhen Ceramic Institute, China - in conjunction with University of West Virginia - Fall 2004

Hollins University, Roanoke, VA - part time faculty beginning 2004

Long Beach Island Foundation, New Jersey - Summer 2003

Portland School of Art, Oregon - Summer 1987

Brookline College, Texas - Summer 1986

Rochester Institute of Technology - Summer 1985

Memphis Academy of Art - Winter Session 1984

Ohio State University - Summer 1983

Arrowmont School of Crafts, Tennessee - Spring 1982

University of Michigan - Summer 1981

Alfred University, New York - Summer 1977

Permanent Collections

American Museum of Ceramic Art - Pomona, CA

Joan Mannheimer Collection - Iowa

Federal Reserve Bank - Virginia

R.J.Reynolds Co. - North Carolina

St.Louis Museum of Art - Missouri

Kansas City Art Institute - Missouri

Silber Collection - California

Allen Chasanoff Collection - Mint Museum, NC

Roanoke College - Virginia

Art Museum of Western Virginia - Virginia

Mint Museum of Contemporary Crafts - Chalotte, NC

Bibliography

Ceramics Monthly "Following a Thread" Matte Glazes at Mid Range - November 2015 Potter Space (1MB)

Studio Potter - Vol.42,No.1 - "A Different Language" by Donna Polseno - 2013 Adobe pdf (573KB)

"Potter's Space & the Earthbound Goddess" by Wayne Higby, Ceramics Art and Perception, issue 66

"Concreta" Sculture Ceramiche, 2008 catalogue-essay by Franco Bertoni-curator, International Museum of Ceramics, Florence, Italy

Ceramics Monthly - Pots with a View - March 2005 Adobe pdf (325KB)

Clay Times -”16 Hands Studio Tour”- Sept/Oct. 2003

21st Century Ceramics in the United States & Canada - The American Ceramics Society - 2003

Ceramics Monthly - ”Crafts in the Castle” - March 2002

The Art of American Contemporary Pottery - Kevin Hluch - Krause Publications - 2001

Mold Making & Slip Casting - Andrew Martin-Magus Art Publications - 2000

Art and Perception #37 - ”The Container as Metaphor-Figurative Work by Donna Polseno”- Fall 1999 Adobe pdf(900KB)

Ceramics Monthly - “Four Virginia Potters” - Dec. 1999

Clay Times - “Four Potters of Floyd County, Virginia” - July 1999

Sculptural Ceramics - Ian Gregory - A&C Black Ltd - Cover Photo - 1999

Clay Times - “Go Figure”- May 1997

Ceramics Monthly-Cover Story-"Accepting Change”- March 1990 Adobe pdf (2MB)

Sculptural Ceramics - Chilton Book Company-Back Cover Photo-1988

Ceramics Monthly - "Art,Money,and the NEA" - Feb.1987

American Craft - “NEA Visual Artists Fellowships” - Jan.1987

The Robb Report - "Ceramic Art-It's on Fire" - March 1986 (875KB)

Studio Potter - Vol.13,No.2 - "Potters of the Blue Ridge" - 1985 Adobe pdf(478KB)

Clay Revisions - 1984 Adobe pdf(430KB)

NCECA Journal Vol.4 - "Spotlight" - 1983

American Ceramics Vol 2,No.1 - Review - 1983

Ceramics Monthly - 1983 Adobe pdf(2.6MB)

American Crafts - Katherine Pearson-Stuart,Tabori,Chang Publishers - 1983

Low Fire Ceramics - Susan Wechsler- Watson&Guptil Publishers -1981

New York Times - Show Review - 1978 and 1982

Craft Horizons - 1977 Adobe pdf(510KB)

Ceramics Monthly - “Studio Potters”- 1976

Miscellaneous

"Potter Sculptor/Sculptor Potter" panelist, NCECA, Phoenix,AZ 2009

Invited Participant - International Ceramics Symposium - Dokuz Eylul Univ.-Izmir, Turkey-2002

Honorary Chairman - Kansas City Art Institute Scholarship Auction - 2001

Panelist - NCECA -Columbus-1999

Juror - ACC Craft Fairs -1996 and 1999

Juror - Richmond Craft Fair - Virginia -1990

Juror - National Clay Biennial- Radrord University - 1989

Artist in Residence - Archie Bray Foundation -1984

Board of Trustees - Piedmont Craftsmen - 1981-1984

Juror - Biennial Craft Exhibition-Washington,D.C. - 1984

Presenter - NCECA Atlanta - 1983

Panelist-High Museum - "Regionalism & Contemporary Crafts" - 1982

Selected Exhibitions

Duality - Donna Polseno and Richard Hensley — Buffalo, WY - May 14 - August 31, 2015

Trax Gallery — "In the Cast" an invitational exhibition of hand cast or molded ceramic pieces by Andy Brayman, Kathy Erteman, Mie Kongo, Paul Kotula, Andrew Martin, Donna Polseno, and Tom Spleth - September 7-October 4, 2013

Santa Fe Clay — 3 Person Exhibition - Santa Fe, NM - January 24, 2013

Eno Gallery — Two Person Show Figurative Scultpure — Hillsboro, NC — June 29, 2012

Plinth Gallery — Solo Exhibition of Pottery — Denver, CO
November 5 - December 5, 2010

"Solo Exhibition of Pottery"
Plinth Gallery
3520 Brighton Blvd
Denver CO 80216
November 5 - December 5 2010

"Solo Exhibition of Figurative Sculpture"
Blue Spiral 1 Gallery
38 Biltmore Avenue
Asheville, NC 28801
Solo Exhibition of Figurative Sculpture
September 30 - December 31 2010

"Reverences" Taubman Museum, Virginia 2009

"Potter Sculptor/Sculptor Potter" NCECA exhibition, Phoenix,AZ 2009

" Concreta-Sculpture Ceramiche"
Six artists: Lee Babel, Aldo Rontini, Donna Polseno, Lisa Nocentini, Ingrid Mair Zischg, Betty Woodman.
Palazzo Pretorio
Certaldo, Italy 2008

"Influencial Journeys" Univ. of W.VA China Program, NCECA Louiville,KY 2007

Mid-Career Survey: Potter's Space and the Earthbound Goddess - Eleanor D. Wilson Museum, Hollins University, Roanoke VA June-July 2006

Former Bray Residents - Turman Gallery, Helena, MT Archie Bray International- June 2006

Poetry of Pottery - Maryland Federation for the Arts, NCECA,  March 2005

Kentucky Museum of Art and Design - “The Splendid Table” - Louisville, KY - 2004

“21st Century Ceramics” - Canzani Center Gallery at CCAD - Columbus,Ohio - 2003

“Releasing the Mold” - Tower Fine Arts gallery at SUNY Brockport,NY - 2003

“Functional Ceramics” - Wooster ,Ohio - 2003

“Amerika Topragindan” - 5 Ceramic Artists - Adnan Franko Sanat Galerisi - Izmir, Turkey - 2002

“The Shape of Color” - Montgomery College Art Gallery - Multi Media Group Show - Md. - 2002

Morgan Gallery - “Friends and Collegues: Victor Babu and Students” - KCMO - 2002

Peck Gallery - 2 Person Show - Providence,RI - 2001

Anderson County Art Center, SC - “Go Figure” - 3 Person Show - 2001

William King Art Center - “Community in Clay” - Abington,VA - 2000

Art Museum of Western Virginia - “Community in Clay” - Roanoke, VA - 1999

Kennedy Museum of Art - “Clay Becomes the Figure” - Ohio University - 1999

Gallery 10 Ltd. - Wash.D.C. - Recent Sculpture - 2 person - 1997

Figurative Ceramic Sculpture Invitational - Montgomery College-Md. - 1997

Survey of Contemporary Ceramics - Tustin Gallery - Ca. - 1996

Virginia Clay Invitational - Longwood Center for the Arts - 1996

“Independant Makers” - Ohio University Seigfred Gallery - 1996

Twist Gallery - Portland,Oregon - Ceramic Sculpture - 1 person - 1994

Exhibits USA - “Built, Thrown, Touched” - Nationally Touring Survey of Ceramics - 1993-1994

American Hand - Recent Work - 1 person -Washington - 1993

“Art/Heart of the Figure” - Twist Gallery - Portland, Oregon - 1992

Javier Puig Gallery - Recent Sculpture - 1 person - Minneapolis - 1991

California Museum of Art - “The Winged Gate” - Santa Rosa, Ca. - 1990

The Handcrafters Gallery -Sante Fe , New Mexico - 1 person - 1990

Martha Schneider Gallery - Chicago, Illinois - 1 Person - 1988

Seattle Art Museum & Renwick Gallery - “Clay Revision: Plate,Cup,Vase” - 1987-88

Ree Schonlau Gallery - Omaha,Nebraska - 1 Person -1985

“Raku and Smoke” - American Museum of Contemporary Crafts - 1984

Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art-Invitational - 1984

Kansas City Art Institute Alumni Show - 1983

Martha Schneider Gallery - Chicago, Illinois - 2 Person - 1983

“By Design” - Minneapolis, Minn. - 1 Person - 1983

The Elements Gallery - NYC - 1 Person - 1983

American Hand - Washington,D.C. -2 Person - 1982

“The Basket” - John Kohler Art Center - Wisconsin - 1981

“12 Plus 1” - Ken Ferguson - Surroundings Gallery - NYC - 1981

“Living From Clay” - Berea College - Kentucky - 1980

Detroit Gallery of Contemporary Crafts - 2 Person - 1979

“Biennial of Piedmont Crafts” - Mint Museum,N.C. - 1978

The Elements Gallery - NYC - 1 Person - 1978

“Eight Independant Production Potters” - KC Art Institute - 1976

“Marietta Crafts National” - Judges Award, OH - 1976

“Young Americans Clay/Glass” - Museum of Contemporary Crafts - 1976

“ACC Craft Work” - Miami - 1976

Selected Workshops and Presentations

Sawtooth School for Visual Arts - Winston-Salem, NC - October 12-13, 2013

Spring Island Trust Visiting Artist Program — "Form and Color" - Spring Island, SC - February 24-March 2, 2013

Kingston Potters Guild - Kingston Ontario, Canada 2008

City of Orlando Pottery - Orlando FL 2007

Miami Potters League - Miami 2006

Montana State University - Bozeman - Spring 2005

Craft Alliance -St. Louis-2002

Forest Park Community College - St. Louis-2002

East Tennesee State University - Tennesee - 2001

William and Mary College - Virginia - 1997

Virginia Clay Conference - Front Royal, Virginia - 1997

Odyssey Center for the Arts-Asheville - North Carolina - 1997

Oregon School of Art and Craft-Portland - Oregon - 1994

Indiana University - Bloomington,Indiana - 1993

Ohio Designer Craftsman - Columbus, Ohio - 1990

New Mexico State University - Las Cruces - 1988

Southwest Craft Center - San Antonio, Texas - 1986

Edinburgh School of Art - Scotland - 1984

American Contemporary Crafts Museum - New York City - 1984

Banff Center - Alberta, Canada - 1984

Penland School of Crafts - North Carolina - 1983

Georgia State University - Georgia - 1982

Rhode Island School of Design - Rhode Island - 1981

Kansas City Art Institute - Kansas City, Missouri -1981

Arrowmont School of Crafts - Tennessee - 1980

Berea College - Kentucky - 1980

Cranbrook Academy of Art - Michigan - 1979

University of Georgia - 1976