There are many incredible artists who's work with clay has very inspirational for me. However, I think the most inspirational work i have ever seen was done by Richard Nockin. My favorite of his works are the teapots he makes using the slip cast method. He starts with a block of clay and creates the most life like representations i have ever seen. They usually have a sense of humor to them that comments on society. Once he is finished with the design he makes multipart plaster molds, which from experience i know is incredibly difficult to do. then he uses slip clay to create hundreds of hollow form vessels. The thing that inspires me the most about his work is his balance of dizzying detail with a quality of incredible technique and he still manages to fit conceptual ideas into his work. If i recall correctly the university of Iowa art museum actually has one of his pieces if ya want to go check it out. here are some examples of his work as well.