Biography: Before becoming a potter, Philadelphia-raised Claire Kirpich studied biology at the University of Pennsylvania. When her husband was sent to California for a one-year work position, Kirpich won the 1967 all-California College's art competition in ceramics, giving her the confidence to pursue pottery as a career. She studied under Philip Cornelius at Pasadena City College before returning to Pennsylvania, where she became a part of the local art community. Her works are inspired by Native American and Japanese techniques, and range from functional pottery to ceramic jewelry. Kirpich has taught at the Philadelphia College of Art (now the University of the Arts), as well as the Community Art Center at Wallingford; she has led workshops at the Haystack School of Crafts and the Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts in Tennessee.