Paul Soldner was one of the first students of Peter Voulkos, an influential American ceramist who taught at the Otis Art Institute in the 1950s. Soldner taught for many years, dividing his time between Aspen, Colorado, and Scripps College in Claremont, California. He inspired a younger generation of artists through his teaching methods and his creation of the "American Raku" firing technique. Based on the Japanese Raku ware tradition, Soldner's method uses different processes to create works that have shapes and glazes that set them apart from Asian ware. Soldner believed that experience and mistakes lead to progress and innovation, an idea that allowed him to produce a substantial number of pieces throughout his career.