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Meet Anna Cosimini

Today we’d like to introduce you to Anna Cosimini.

Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
I’ve always been driven to make things. I grew up surrounded by artists and craftspeople, so making things was just a natural way of life.
I was introduced to clay at 11, taking after-school classes in the tiny basement studio of a middle school art teacher nearby. Often I was the only one enrolled, and she gave me complete freedom to make whatever I wanted with the clay. I continued taking classes until I left for college, studying ceramics at Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston, MA. Soon after earning my BFA I drove cross-country to San Diego, like so many others, for an indefinite adventure… now going on five years. Besides working as an artist, I teach the k-5 ceramics program at McKinley Elementary in San Diego. It’s an incredible gift to be able to share ceramics with kids just as ceramics and art were shared with me when I was young.

Please tell us about your art.
Professionally, I am a sculptor and a potter, and most of all, I’m a maker. Though my primary material is clay, I have always had a strong need to create, using whatever tools and materials are available. I also find that creativity in one area of my life enriches the next. I’ve been fortunate to be surrounded by people who taught me to cook, bake, sew, build simple furniture, frame a house, grow a garden, make soap, darn a sweater, repair broken things, and various other handicrafts and skills. I think I make things with my hands most of all because I have a fundamental need to make things, although I’ve never tried to find out what would happen if I didn’t.

Even within the medium of clay, my interests and aesthetics are fairly diverse: functional pottery, figure sculpture, portrait sculpture, and abstract forms. I find it effective to work on capturing the likeness of a face, then turn to attaching handles to a mug, and then to constructing some odd experiment of a form, all within the same day in the studio.

I enjoy making functional pottery for daily use, and at the expense of efficiency, I prefer to make each piece unique. Right now, I’m particularly interested in making chalices and other stemware, which present fun challenges. I’m also increasingly interested in making functional pottery that can be interacted with like a toy. I’ll be playing with these ideas in 2019, so if you’re curious, you can follow me on Instagram @anna.cosimini to see them develop!

Within sculpture, I am drawn to complex, biomorphic and often very fragile forms. I grew up spending plenty of time outdoors, and as I got older spent more time hiking forests and deserts, exploring tidepools and shorelines. I frequently find myself with my nose an inch away from a mountaintop carpet of alpine moss and lichens, a mossy forest floor, or picking up odd looking seed pods while out on a walk. These delicate forms, as well as geological formations, microscopic anatomy and physiology, and other biological wonders, are highly influential in my work.

Relatedly, my interest in figure sculpture and portraits comes from a reverence for the beautiful diversity of human forms and features, from the changing proportions and the chubbiness of a baby to the asymmetrical wrinkles of old age, of billions of unique noses and crooked smiles. Capturing the nuances of the human form or a particular likeness present interesting and exciting challenges. And if I’m having a bad day, a silly caricature or grotesque is a perfect remedy.

I’ve been warned that it would be more professional, or at least more lucrative, to hone in on one chosen aesthetic and category of work, but I’m more interested in entertaining my own creative impulses than pleasing an audience. I’ve learned that it’s best to make art that you feel compelled to make, rather than art that you think people want. As Rumi wrote, “Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray.”

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing artists today?
Kids and adults alike need unstructured time to play and allow their creativity to thrive. We need boredom to give our minds the chance to wander and daydream as we should. And yet, our modern world often seems to forget this, with our overscheduled days and our smartphones ever in our hands. (I’m particularly guilty of the latter, myself.) Our technology is a wonderful thing and gives us access to limitless media, images, and more for continual inspiration. Not to mention those addictive hits of dopamine with every notification, every swipe, every refresh of the feed. Unfortunately, we often keep ourselves so steadily entertained at the expense of the dreamy idleness and resulting associative thinking that can bring us our most creative ideas. Let’s put down our phones, let our minds wander, and invite the muse.

How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
I’m on Instagram @anna.cosimini, and my website is I’m one of seven associate artists at Clay Associates, a nonprofit clay studio in Normal Heights. The studio is open to the public twice a year for our Spring and Winter Shows on the first Friday of every June and December. The first weekend of our Winter Show coincides with our participation in the San Diego Pottery Tour. 2018 also marked my third annual solo show at the Hagan Collection in Wellesley, Massachusetts, which is generally scheduled close to Thanksgiving. For inquiries or commissions, please contact me at

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Image Credit:
Anna Cosimini

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