Guardino Gallery show, May 29 – June 22

I will have approximately 40 vases on display at the Guardino Gallery at 2939 NE Alberta in Portland from May 29 through June 22. The opening reception is Thursday, May 29, from 6 to 9 pm. I will also be giving a talk about my work on Saturday, June 14, starting at 2 pm. For more information, go to

Daffodil Vase

Daffodil Vase



Because electric pottery kilns are relatively inexpensive and simple to install, electric firing has become one of the most common firing methods today.

Unfortunately, glazes fired in electric kilns can be uninteresting because they lack surface variations in color and texture – unless you get creative.

After four years of experimenting with electric firing, I’ve figured out how to achieve interesting colors and textures in my glazes. Here’s how I do it.


I create highlights of the same color by formulating semi-transparent glazes and varying the glaze thickness. I vary the glaze thickness in a couple of ways. When I dip a pot in a semi-transparent type of glaze, the glaze naturally becomes thinner on the edges of sharp contours. Later, after the glaze dries, I vary the glaze thickness by rubbing off some of the glaze.

Example of highlighting:



Layering and combining different glazes

Because highlighting doesn’t work for opaque glazes, I had to develop a different technique to achieve an interesting glaze surface with these types of glazes.

For opaque glazes, I dip a pot in one glaze color and create variegation by spraying a second glaze layer of a contrasting color or shade on top of the dipped glaze. I sometimes layer up to four different color glazes at a time.

If the dipped glaze layer is more fluid than the sprayed glazes, the sprayed colors tend to blend seamlessly into the underlying layer. This technique can result in a lovely “ombre” effect.

Example of the ombre effect:



If the glaze layers are thick rather than fluid, the colors tend to “sit on top” of each other. This technique can result in a spotted effect.

Example of the spotted effect:


Adding a speckling agent

Speckling agents include coloring oxides that contain particulate matter that speckles the glaze surface. Examples of these oxides include granular manganese, illmenite, and rutile. When I spray glazes, I often add granular illmenite to create small brown speckles on the glaze surface.

Example of speckling:

Salamander Vase

Controlling the cooling cycle

Because my vases are inspired by the pottery of the Arts & Crafts Movement, being able to create matte glazes is critical to my work.

Matteness occurs when small crystals grow in the glaze while the kiln cools.  The cooling rate, that is, how fast the kiln loses heat, can dramatically change the surface of the glaze.

For example, both of the pots shown below were glazed with my Olive Green glaze. The pot on the left was cooled more slowly than the pot on the right. The result is that the pot on the right is significantly glossier than the pot on the left.


Mid-Century pottery on display in Portland dream house

Lately I’ve been inspired by mid-century pottery, specifically Scandinavian pottery.


The vases shown here, and three additional vases, will be on display at the “Made in America” house during the Street of Dreams home show in Portland from July 27 – August 25. Here’s an artist’s rendition of the 6,100 sq. ft. home, which is entirely American made:


For more information about the show, go to

Pond life inspiration


The frog bowl was inspired by the pottery of W. H. Trippett, founder of Redlands Pottery (circa 1904). Trippett was a former art metal worker for Tiffany Studios. He self-trained in ceramics for three years before opening his business out of his home on Summit Avenue in Redlands, California.

A trio of frogs surround this bowl. Some frogs are partially covered by leaves. I threw the bowl on a potter’s wheel and sculpted the frogs and leaves on the surface when the clay was leather hard. The clay is terracotta-colored stoneware. To enhance the design, I applied an oxide wash before the bowl was fired. After firing, I rubbed the bowl with beeswax.

To learn more about W. H. Trippett and see examples of his work, you can go to

Salamander Vase

The Salamander Vase was inspired by a photograph of an Arts & Crafts pottery vase made around 1900. I threw the vase on a potter’s wheel and sculpted the salamander on the surface when the clay was leather hard. The mustard yellow glaze has a matte finish and light brown speckles. I formulated this glaze to resemble the matte mustard glaze found on early Van Briggle pieces. For an example, see this period Van Briggle vase:

New JW Art Pottery Studio Open in Portland

After many months of work, the new JW Art Pottery studio is open in Portland, Oregon.


The studio was converted from a 420-square foot garage next to my house. Like the house, it was built in 1923. The white-washed barn wood and windows are original to the structure. Incredibly, most of the glass panes are original — the glass has a lovely wavy texture. The concrete floor is acid-stained and the color is called “Potter’s Wheel.”


There is a view of the garden from the window above my sculpting table.

Final California Firing

I was able to find time to fire three new organic vases before moving to my new studio in Portland.