Meet the Makers – Jean’s Clay Studio

Jean's Clay Studio

Tell us about yourself.
Milwaukee Potter for over 20 years, I began drawing and carving onto my pottery pieces and haven’t stopped yet! My designs have always been inspired by nature and have evolved to include everyday household objects and popular iconography. (Here’s a video showing some of my work.)

What are you presenting at Maker Faire Milwaukee?
I will be presenting my current line of functional pottery, with a variety of designs. My stylized designs are carved onto each piece by a process called “sgraffito” or “slip-carving.” After the piece is thrown on the wheel and trimmed, a layer of colored clay called “slip” is brushed onto the surface. Once the slip has been allowed to dry slightly, I hand draw and carve the design through the slip. Colored highlights are painted on after the first firing in the kiln. A clear glaze is applied and fired once more to over 2000 degrees to finish the piece. Vases, bowls, mugs, plates and serving pieces will be for sale. All Dishwasher and Microwave safe.

Jean's Clay Studio

Why is making important to you?
I fall into the category of having an obsession to “Make”! Making objects that are then shared and used by others is very personal and meaningful to me. It allows me to connect with others in a creative and joyful way. All of my pieces are created completely by hand: no molds, forms, stencils, stamps, decals or transfers are used. I feel this adds a certain amount of energy and spirit to each piece along with a distinctive and unique identity for the object and it’s owner.

What was the first thing you remember making?
I thoroughly remember some of the early projects I made in elementary school, three-dimensional objects to illustrate a book report or science homework. I spent hours on these projects and loved it! It is amazing what you can make with just paper, cardboard, glue and string.

Jean's Clay Studio

What have you made that you are most proud of?
At the moment I am most proud of the development I have made with my pottery over the past 20 years. The functional aspect of pottery is extremely important to me and I strive to make high-quality, one-of-a-kind, enjoyable objects.

Given an unlimited budget, what would you make?
Time and an unlimited budget? Sounds terrific! I would most likely make larger, more time-consuming pieces, that perhaps tell more of a story, or explore the natural world a little bit more.