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Harrison McIntosh, noted ceramicist, has died at 101

Harrison McIntosh, noted ceramicist and longtime Claremont resident died Thursday, January 21 in Claremont. He was 101.

Mr. McIntosh was one of a number of artists who studied art at the Claremont Graduate School after military service in World War II. At that time, artist and architect Millard Sheets taught classes at Scripps College, where Mr. McIntosh worked alongside fellow ceramicist Rupert Deese. 

The artists shared studio space for 50 years—first in a building on Foothill Boulevard now home to the Claremont School of Theology then, after Mr. McIntosh and his wife Marguerite purchased their Padua Hills home in 1958, the studio was moved next door.

He did stray from his passion—vessel work—from time to time with more sculptural work, including public art pieces like the two enormous metal wind chimes located at the California Bank & Trust bank building on First Street and Yale Avenue.

At his 100th birthday celebration in September 2014, Mr. McIntosh pondered on his enthusiasm for creating the vessels that marked his decades-long career as an artist.

 “Why was I dumb enough to keep making the same thing for 60 years?” he asked. “It’s taken me 100 years to learn.”

His wife, an artist he met while studying at Scripps College in the 1940s, took note of her husband’s range as an artist.

 “He never duplicated the same form,” she observed. “He followed his inspiration, one piece at a time.”

Mr. McIntosh added, “I don’t have any favorites. I always make every piece the best I can.”

The family requests that donations in his memory be made to the American Museum of Ceramic Art (www.amoca.org) or the Claremont Museum of Art (www.claremontmuseum.org).  A memorial service is being planned. 

More on his life will be included in an upcoming edition of the COURIER.