Nationally recognized ceramic artist Irina Okula was born in Wolfen, East Germany during World War II. Her father, along with other engineers and scientists, was brought with his family to West Germany where they lived on an army base until they immigrated to the United States in the late 1940s. Irina received a BA from Fontbonne College and a MFA in Ceramics from Southern Illinois University - Edwardsville. She has also studied at the Boston Museum School, Anderson Ranch Arts Center, Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, and Penland School of Crafts.

 Irina has exhibited widely along the East Coast, at the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen’s Fair, the Fruitlands Museum Exhibition, the Smithsonian Craft Show, CraftBoston Spring & Holiday Shows, the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show, the Fuller Craft Museum Biennial Members Exhibition, and in other prestigious venues. At the Smithsonian Craft Show, she won the Excellence in Ceramics Award in 2015 - the highest honor given to a sculptural ceramics artist - and at the Fuller Craft Museum she won the Juror’s Choice Award in 2014.

Her work is currently in the Exeter Fine Crafts Gallery in Exeter, NH; Hoadley Gallery in Lenox, MA; League of NH Craftsmen Fine Craft Galleries in multiple locations in New Hampshire; Snyderman-Works Galleries in Philadelphia PA; Lexicon Gallery in Magnolia, MA; and Freehand Gallery in CA. 

Irina is also a renowned art educator at The Governor’s Academy in Byfield, MA. Her students win multiple Globe Scholastic Art and Writing Awards each year. In 2015, her students won 25 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, including ten Golds, nine Silvers, and six Honorable Mentions, more awards than students at any other New England school. In addition, two of the winners went on to garner national medals - a Gold and a Silver - and have their work displayed in Washington, DC. The Alliance for Young Artists and Writers recognized Irina as an outstanding educator in 2012, noting that her students’ work is routinely selected for multiple national honors.


AWARDS AND HONORS

1970: Evanston Museum, Evanston, IL, Purchase Award

2002: Newburyport Art Association, H. Patterson Hale Jr. Memorial Prize for Excellence

2003: Newburyport Art Association: Sixth Annual Regional Juried Show, Best Use of Media

2012: Outstanding Educator, The Alliance for Young Artists and Writers

2015: Jurors’ Choice, Fuller Craft Museum

2015: Excellence in Ceramics, Smithsonian Craft Show, Washington, DC


INVITED ARTIST/JURIED SHOWS

2015, 2017: Smithsonian Craft Show, Washington, DC

2017: American Craft Council - Baltimore Craft Show, Baltimore, MD

2010-2017:League of NH Craftsmen’s Fair, Newbury, NH

2008-2017CraftBoston Holiday Show, Boston, MA

2002-2007-2016: Lexington Arts & Craft Show, Lexington, MA

2016: Flying Horse Outdoor Sculpture Art Exibit, Pingree School, West Hamilton, MA

2004-2009, 2011-2016CraftBoston Spring Show, Boston, MA

2014-2016: Fuller Craft Museum Biennial Members Exhibition, Brockton, MA

2002-2007-2016: Lexington Arts & Craft Show, Lexington, MA

2015: Fruitlands Museum Exhibition, Harvard, MA one-woman show, Gifts from the Saggar Fire

2007, 2011, 2012, 2014: Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show, Philadelphia, PA

2014-2016: Fuller Craft Museum Biennial Members Exhibition, Brockton, MA

2013: Cape Ann Ceramics Festival, Gloucester, MA, Beauty in Use: Ceramic Art from Cape Ann, Pucker Gallery and Beyond

2013: deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Lincoln, MA, Invited Artist of the Month

2003-2008, 2011: Chameleon Fall Art Salon, Ipswich, MA

2007-2010: The Governor’s Fine Crafts Fair, The Governors Academy, Byfield, MA

2007-2008: Berkshire Craft Show, Great Barrington, MA

2006-2007: Crafts at the Castle, Boston, MA

2003-2006: Remis Gallery, The Governors Academy, Byfield, MA, The Three Potters and Others

2005: Paradise City Arts Festival, Northampton, MA

2005: Wesleyan Potters, Middletown, CT, one-woman show, Gifts from the Saggar Fire

2004-2005: NOBO Show, Newburyport, MA

2002, 2004: River Gallery, Ipswich, MA two-person show

2002-2003: Newburyport Art Association Annual Exhibit, Newburyport, MA

1996, 2001, 2002: Carl Youngman Gallery, Governor Dummer Academy, Byfield, MA, The Three Potters

2002: Newburyport Art Association, Newburyport, MA, group show2000: IWCAT, Tokoname, Japan, group show

1992: Northshore Clayworks, Ocmulgee Pottery, Ipswich, MA, member show

1990: Carl Youngman Gallery, Governor Dummer Academy, Byfield, MA, Faculty Show

1988: Carl Youngman Gallery, Governor Dummer Academy, Byfield, MA, three-person show

1986, 1987: Boston Museum School, Boston, MA, Student Show

1975: ACC Rhinebeck Craft Show, Rhinebeck, NY

1971: Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville ,IL, three-person show

1971: Craft Alliance Gallery, Saint Louis, MO, two-person show

1970: Evanston Museum, Evanston, IL

1970: Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI