Born in Montreal, Marlene Zagdanski is an emerging ceramic artist based in Toronto.

Although she obtained her BFA in 1977, she took a long hiatus from the arts during which she pursued her legal career. In 2008 Marlene atteended her first ceramic class at the Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art.  Unbeknownst to her, this would constitute her return to the arts. Today, Marlene is thoroughly captivated by clay and immersed in the craft of ceramics. 

In 2015, Marlene found that she could no longer sustain full-time employment and her practice of spending 15 to 20 hours per week in the ceramic studio.  She chose to pursue ceramics on a full-time basis.

Recognizing that more training was required if she was to grow as and become an independent ceramic artist, in 2015 Marlene joined the third (final) year of Sheridan College’s Crafts and Design Ceramics Diploma Program, which she is now completing. 

Marlene’s current work reveals a personal journey of exploration and development which will sustain her ceramic practice for years to come.


I am captivated by clay. It is simple and complex, and forgiving but demanding of continuous learning and experimentation.  It promotes self-reflection and regard for the external world. 

My work consists of functional and sculptural objects, and those that share elements of both traditions. I work in stoneware and porcelain.  The work can be thrown, sometimes altered, molded and/or hand built.  The forms, patterns and texture I create are most often derived from the natural world, but can also borrow elements from the human form.  The work has a strong tactile quality. I use slip and glaze application to accent the form and surface.  Tension is created through contrast: matte/glossy, light/shadow, inner/outer. My passion for pattern is often evident. 

My current work is informed by my childhood experiences and personal attachment to Laurentian landscape, and as the only Canadian-born and surviving member of an immigrant family. My work and process is a means of transcribing into tangible form, disparate and intangible personal responses evoked by this landscape and its loss.  These responses include search for connectedness, personal resonance, solitude and separateness, longevity, fear, wonderment, and myth.  The work also entertains the notion that exploration of familiar landscape may foster creative risk, thereby encouraging the creation of freshly imagined terrain.