Purser Studio

Stuart Purser's Biography page

Robert S. Purser

I was born in Louisiana and grew up in the South. Much of my youth was spent in Gainesville, Florida. Both of my parents were university professors and artists. My father painted the struggle of the Black man in the South most of his life. The subject of Mother's work was landscapes, still lifes, etc. From early childhood I wanted to be an architect but was told in high school that my math skills weren't up to it.

In 1958 my father accepted a one-year position at a university in Southern California as a visiting artist. Not caring for the area, I took a bus North to attend Central Washington College of Education in Ellensburg. At that time I wanted to go into art education and Central had a national reputation among small colleges. Also there was no tuition. I graduated in 1962 from Central with a BA in art and a minor in drama. My main passion at this time was throwing pots on the wheel.

In 1962 I joined the Peace Corps and went to Peru to work in ceramics. That didn't pan out but I did work in crafts development- specifically design of alpaca textiles. After Peru, I attended the University of Washington to complete an MFA. I wrote my own program with an emphasis on design and became quite interested in the process of teaching design. I graduated from the UW in 1966. This same year I got a job teaching at the new community college, across the lake in Bellevue. I taught design, drawing, textile design, art appreciation and was department chair for many years. As time went on I concentrated on teaching 2-D design, color theory and history of modern design and architecture.

During the 70's I worked on and received a PhD from the University of Oregon in art education. My main interest was in teaching students more about architecture and our built environment. My dissertation involved creating a model for teachers to use to untangle this vast field we call architecture.

In 2000 I retired from full-time teaching at Bellevue Community College to have more time for travel and studio work. I still teach two quarters each year. My favorite is an interdisciplinary class that combines the history of modern furniture with design and architecture history.

In 1983 I married Carolyn Voorhees (a second marriage for both of us). She was a graphic designer (graduated from the University of Washington in painting) and a second generation Swede. We shared interest in architecture education, both working extensively with the Seattle Architectural Foundation. Both of us led architectural tours for the past 15 years and wrote a few. We were also very active in the organization, Northwest Designer Craftsmen. Carolyn did the newsletter for four years.  As we both shared a great love for the Nordic countries we joined a Swedish lodge that met in Upper Preston and in recent years took several groups to the Nordic countries to gain a greater appreciation of the fabulous design there.  In 2007, on our 24th anniversary Carolyn suddenly passed on.

In the spring of 2009 I finally retired from Bellevue College (as it has become) and married Robin Jones of Victoria BC.  We had been close friends since 1964 when I was working on my MFA at the University of Washington and Robin was a student there in landscape architecture.  The house in Bellevue is being sold and in the fall of 2009 I will move to Victoria, BC to become a "landed immigrant" living in a charming bungalow built in 1913.

Mary Purser
Robert Purser
Robert Purser's Biography
Robert Purser's Resume
Robert Purser's Gallery
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all images copyright 2004,2005 Robert Purser