Born in the Pacific Northwest, Judith Ernst studied studio art and political science at Stanford University. Living in South Asia after graduation, she was influenced by art from that region and became committed to creating art that had meaning. She did that by illustrating books. In 1995 she won a national award for The Golden Goose King. It was followed by an illustrated version of the Song of Songs in 2003.
In 2001 while visiting the Gulbenkenian Museum in Lisbon, she viewed their extensive collection of 17th-Century Turkish Iznik pottery. The overwhelming beauty of this collection suggested that “perhaps beauty is enough”. Returning home, she began learning ceramics. But she found that the vessel form, with its exterior and hidden interior, immediately suggested meaning and an ancient resonance. For her, “beauty” doesn’t exist without “meaning”, so she creates conceptual and even contemplative ceramic vessels, some now covered with words.