Toni Ross was born and raised in New York City. She attended Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, where she studied ceramics and graduated with a BA in film studies. Interested in art making from a young age, Ross has taken many paths, including everything from film work to pastry making. In 1997, Toni Ross decided to commit herself to her artwork and immersed herself in the world of ceramics.
Drawn initially to wheel-thrown, functional ware, Ross created a small production line of high-fired porcelain and stoneware, as well as one-of-a-kind pieces. Ross’ growing interest in shino, a Japanese glaze first used in the Momoyama period (late 16th century), uncovered a new path. Shino-ware has endless possibilities. The finish of each piece is rarely replicable. Although intended to emulate the fine white glazes of China, depending on application, thickness, humidity and firing process, shino glaze can range from white to orange to brown or black, matte or shiny, rough or smooth. This contingency led to a natural collaboration between the artist and material through experimentation.
Ross’ work is influenced by the light and ocean landscape surrounding the eastern end of Long Island, where she moved in 1988. Her recent work is predominantly coil and slab formed, high-fire stoneware. Finding power in forms both large and small, each piece is the size it “needs to be.” Often infused with vessel vernacular, Ross thinks of each work as a container; a container of time, emotions and experience.
Toni Ross now lives and works in Wainscott, NY with her children Noah and Sara and their dog, Gracie.