April 11, 2009

In Japan and California: Artful Talent and Pottery

Pottery is so beautiful. When we were children we often made the "ashtray" for our parents during a summer class. My parents never smoked but for some reason that and the pencil and pen holder were the two favorite or maybe the "easiest" pieces to sculpt. As time when by and real interest in pottery making was pursued, the occasional vase was made in a weekend class.

Today my aspirations for ceramic making are gone but the appreciation for the art of pottery making and the talent that goes along with it is as strong as ever. In Japan, you can find incredible hand made pottery sitting in piles on the floor of a shop on many busy streets - you can find it sitting in little protective paper in beautiful and expensive department stores. Both locations offer amazing pieces of work that look as if they are one of a kind.

Across the Pacific from Japan in Northern California you can find two long time pottery operations, both unique and yet very similar in their commitment to the design, integrity and creation of their work -- Heath Ceramics in Sausalito and Calistoga Pottery in Calistoga.

The Calistoga Pottery Studio has been run by Jeff and Sally Manfredi for more than 30 years - just off the highway in the hot springs town of Calistoga in Northern California. Sally and Jeff have been making pottery together and their work looks incredible - being used in dozens of local wineries and restaurants, such as Tra Vigne Restaurant and Frog's Leap Winery.

While we visited the showroom, Sally opened up the studio and welcomed us to look around. She was very informative about the various glazes and styles of pottery, no question was too small. It was really enjoyable to find this shop - just before our delicious dinner - and to have the owner take time to speak with us.

Just south of Calistoga is the coastal town of Sausalito and home to Heath Ceramics, a pottery studio and shop founded by industrial designer, potter Edith Heath in 1948.

In 2003, husband and wife team, Robin Petravic and Catherine Bailey purchased Heath Ceramics. Their shared mission was to revitalize the company by placing a strong emphasis on design, while preserving Edith Heath’s handcrafted techniques and design legacy.

Today, classic designs, as well as new ones are made with the highest level of craftsmanship - ensuring the lasting quality and aesthetic of each of our products.

This beautiful shop is a wonderful place to enjoy the same craftsmanship as can be found in Japan. They offer tours of their studio every weekend and are very welcoming if you have any questions about their work. Like Calistoga Pottery, you will find Heath Ceramics and tiles in many restaurants, hotels as well as homes. Stop by either of these locations sometime to learn about the art of pottery making and even California.


  1. What lovely pictures! It looks very peaceful and meditative.

  2. Both are wonderful places. Calistoga in particular is very peaceful this time of year...thanks for taking time to comment.

  3. Your blog "In Japan and California: Artful Talent and Pottery" was a very interesting post. Thank you for taking the time to share it with us and for showing all those beautiful photos, your work is really appreciated.

    I run a related blog about pottery and was recently quoted saying…

    If you are looking for a great creative outlet or a new hobby that can bring in a little spare change while you are at it, you may want to consider learning to make your own pottery.

    Feel free to check out the full blog post on my related blog
    over at…




Related Posts with Thumbnails