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Rudy Autio came to St. Petersburg for the first time in search of the Treasures of the Tsars, but left having changed the history of clay in St. Pete. On that visit, Rudy and his wife Lela fell in love with the city and with the fledgling program at St. Pete Clay. For the rest of his life, until he became too weak to travel, Rudy spent winters with us here. He brought with him some of the most important artists in contemporary ceramics: Peter Voulkos, Don Reitz, Paul Soldner. His influence brought many more note-worthy artists and teachers to us, some of which continue to return every year. Though he left us in 2007, Rudy’s presence and gifts are still very much alive at the Morean Center for Clay.

Photo by Tom Bauer/ Missoulian