Biography: An innovator in the field of contemporary ceramics, Toshiko Takaezu was born in Hawaii in 1922. She left the island in 1951 to study ceramics and weaving at Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan—a school well known for its strong programs in the arts and crafts tradition. Takaezu was greatly influenced by Japanese artistic traditions. Following her studies, the artist spent close to a year in Japan in the mid-1950s—traveling, studying Zen Buddhism and tea ceremonies, and visiting prominent Japanese potters. Though known primarily for her ceramic forms, Takaezu worked in a variety of media including weaving, painting, and bronze sculpture. Celebrated for her impact on the field as an artist and mentor, Takaezu spent eight years as head of the ceramics department at Cleveland Institute of Art prior to accepting a post in 1967 at Princeton University, where she would influence generations of students before retiring in 1992.