Ceramic artist Veralee Bassler first took clay in hand around the age of 15 in a favorite high school class, ceramics. Several years later, she graduated from the UCLA Art Department with a concentration in ceramics. Bassler then began a 25-year career of teaching in the Los Angeles Unified School District.
At times, art-making has had the full measure of her energy and focus, and at others, has been woven in and around family life, teaching and having lived in Oaxaca, Mexico from 1971–1975. From 1980–1982 Bassler had the opportunity to do graduate study with renowned Bay Area ceramicists, Robert Brady and Sandy Simon, at the Appalachian Center for Craft in Tennessee.
Bassler engages in the process of Kazegama, a wood-firing technique, orchestrated by Steve Davis, a ceramic artist at Aardvark Clay in Orange County. The results from these firings are always remarkable as well as surprising. She also has closer access to a Kazegama kiln site at Bombay Beach on the Salton Sea (also built by Davis).
Bassler lives with her husband, fiber artist Jim Bassler, in the desert, where they lead a simplified life, dedicated to creativity. The surrounding desert vegetation, monumental rock forms and surrounding mountains are a continual inspiration to her.