“Each of my botanical pieces begin with a walk in the mountains and woods of Central Virginia where I gather wild plant specimens. All of my pieces are wheel-thrown using a buff-colored stoneware clay body. I press plant specimens into the wet clay, and then pull the specimen off, leaving an accurate fossil impression which gives me a template for glazing.”
After earning a BA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in English and Creative Writing, she earned an MA in English from the University of Virginia in 1987 and began teaching Composition, Creative Writing, and American Literature in the Virginia Community College System.
While teaching at Piedmont Virginia Community College, she began taking pottery classes in the evenings, mostly to get her mind off of text-based communication, but also to experiment with being a beginner at something again. She continued taking pottery classes at PVCC even after becoming a full time professor at Germanna Community College.
Over the ten year period that she was teaching, Suzanne studied with functional potter Tom Clarkson and worked informally as a studio assistant to him for seven years. She also took classes and workshops with other well known potters.
In 1997,opened Mud Dauber Pottery near Charlottesville and began exhibiting her pottery in juried art festivals. A member of the Artisans Center of Virginia, she has been a self-supporting full-time artisan since 2000.
Julie and Ken Girardini are a husband and wife design team and have been working with metal since 1990. They have participated in some of the finest juried craft shows in the country. Their exquisite designs are also featured in art galleries throughout the United States.
Michele grew up in Michigan and has been a potter since 1993. After raising five children and moving to Kalamazoo, MI, she studied ceramics at Kalamazoo Valley Community College, Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, Jackson Community College and attended seminars and workshops wit h nationally and internationally recognized potters.
Her functional pottery is made of stoneware with food safe glazes fired at 2157 degrees in an energy efficient electric kiln. She is recognized for her elegant use of design, color and glazing that makes her pottery a perfect gift.
Claudia Zeber-Martell began as a painter, and surface decoration is a dominant element in her work, with images balanced between internal visualization and external stimuli. Her focus often combines forms, colors and dimensions found in nature, from the organic and geometric to the whimsical. Claudia says her aspiration in using these elements is to develop positive images that enrich the environment and create harmony.
Michael Martell's pottery has evolved over two decades from traditional salt-glazed and wood-fired stoneware to expressive graceful pieces with contemporary form. According to Michael, "Form is so much a part of our everyday lives, and I've been fortunate to explore it through clay; the slightest movement of the hands creates subtle changes in the shape of the pot. That is constantly amazing to me."
Collaboration can be an enriching process for two artists, and by challenging each other a balance is achieved, and the contribution of each person's particular skills has here resulted in a product that surpasses what each could achieve alone. They enjoy the daily overlapping of their personal and professional lives, and they believe it enhances their individual creativity.
The Zeber-Martel studio is located in Akron, Ohio.