Best wishes for 2014!

I would like to wish my family, friends, and visitors to my website all the best for the new year 2014! Akemashite omedeto gozaimashita!

I grew some beautiful Amaryllis flowers during the Holiday time and would like to share.

Enjoy this gorgeous flower with the Kamakura-Red color!!! 🙂





















2013 new Horsehair Raku work


I worked on an order for a 22 inch big horsehair raku plate during the months of August and September.

It is quite a process.

First, you throw several big plates because with the shaping, trimming and drying a lot can happen.

Ferric fuming Horsehair Raku Plate “Caldera”, 22″ x 22″ x 1.5″, 55cm x 55cm x 2.5cm.

Then you have to deal with the thermal shock from hot to cold when you take it out. The plate just fitst in my 24 inch round electric kiln. I lift the plate out of the kiln with my gloves on (it is too big and too heavy to get out of the kiln with tongs), then I put it down quickly on a very porous heat resistant brick before it burns through my gloves. With such a big plate I need help. My husband picks up the plate with gloves on, rushes over to the spray booth and puts it in on the heat resistant bricks for the decoration process. This goes all very fast.

Ferric fuming Horsehair Raku Plate “Volcano”, 22′ x 22′ x 1″, 55cm x 55cm x 2cm.

Then quickly and very controlled I put on some horsehair, sugar and/or feathers and spray with ferric chloride for the brownish-orange coloring. You see and hear the piece expanding and working and of course sometimes you hear the inevitable “crack” sound! Too bad. You continue decorating until it is too cool for putting on more horsehair etc. It is fast like 1 – 2 minutes!


And when one plate cracks and brakes very nicely you continue very fast with the decoration process and try to connect both parts with horsehair running across. So even though it are 2 pieces, it will make 1 whole work.

Ferric fuming Horsehair Raku Plate “Open up your mind”, 19″ x 19″ x 2.5″, 48cm x 48cm x 6cm.




Andy Ruble workshop

Time flies! 2 month ago I posted my last blog!

In August I did go to a workshop of Andy Ruble: an interesting man and work. He works big and showed us how to make a big vessel with throwing and coiling. I am always working on that skill and always looking for different ways.

Currently Director of Ceramics at Foothill College, Los Altos Hills, Andy has many prior teaching posts. Andy Ruble received his BFA and MFA and is winner of several competitions and awards, and was a participant in many nationally juried exhibitions.
The heart of his work is the mixing of organic and architectural structure. As objects in nature and man-made objects reflect the same natural laws, we see in his work how the analogous structures of both are important to the survival of the whole. His work simultaneously conveys the beauty of natural arches and the grace of cathedral naves.

He started with throwing a big base bowl.

To continue to build upon this base he has to wait until it hardens. This can take a long time. So, he starts torching the base and it literally starts to fume as the water evaporates until it feels stiff and leatherhard.

Andy scores the rim and then puts slip on it so the coils with stick and integrate with the base.

He puts 5 coils on the base and then starts to compress and throwing and shaping them. He repeats the process of torching, scoring, slipping coiling and shaping/compressing 3 more times.

After the 4th time coiling. The vessel has a beautiful shape. Andy has to stand on a stool to be above his work and to be able to see what he does.

He is shaping the collar.

Then he decorates his vessel with a beautiful square shape made in a plaster mold.

Thank you Andy!


The ACGA Art Festival in Palo Alto

The ACGA Art Festival was a wonderful happening held on July 13 + 14 in Palo Alto California.

I set up my booth on Friday and on Saturday morning prepared still some small things before the arrival of the customers.

It was great to meet potter and glass friends and to see their booth full of their work by walking around and to admire the work of the rest of the 150 artists, who came from far and beyond from California. Also the customers came from very far to this well-known festival.


I showed Horsehair ware, Kamakura-Red ware and former ware: Blue-Slip ware, Connection ware, Yellow-Red ware, White ware and Fumed ware; a nice mix and combination! 🙂 I sold from every kind to wonderful customers.

Thank you all for making this a wonderful experience, especially with the help of my husband Adriaan!


Palo Alto news article about me and 2 other artists

The story behind the glass
Artists share their stories before displaying work at the Palo Alto Clay & Glass Festival

by Karishma Mehrotra
Palo Alto Weekly Staff


Before 2004, Deme Theofanous knew nothing about being an artist, other than watching a video about glass-blowing in second grade.

Now, along with more than 150 California artists, she will present her clay and glass pieces at the 21st annual Palo Alto Clay & Glass Festival on July 13 and 14 at the Palo Alto Art Center. As in years past, the Association of Clay and Glass Artists will host thousands of guests to peruse the various art collections and purchase the ones they enjoy, witness live art demonstrations and even make clay sculptures themselves.

Theofanous said she never expected to be at this festival, but throughout her life, the memory of that glass-blowing video stuck with her.

“I joked with people that I was going to be a glass blower when I grew up,” she said.
But instead, she stuck to the path that her parents wanted for her: business school.
One day, though, Theofanous decided to make a change.

“I thought, ‘You know, I really don’t have to do something that I don’t enjoy,” she recalled. Theofanous said she used this moment to restart her life and “find something more true to (her) passion and (her) art.”

Soon enough, she found herself in a class learning to make glass beads and jewelry. She said she never knew what the phrase “my calling” meant until now.

“That was kind of my start,” Theofanous said. “I took that first class and I knew. I guess the way to describe it is that I’ve always gotten straight A’s but never felt like anything was a natural thing for me.”

Not only did she find her calling in that class, she also found Dean Benson. They soon became romantically and professionally involved, launching a new art-business venture together called Avolie Glass, based in San Francisco.

At the Palo Alto festival, Benson and Theofanous hope to show off pieces with colors that are derived from nature like the tropical ocean colors painted on their tall, glass, teardrop-shaped “Surf & Sand” series. Their prices will range from $35 to $495.

While the Avolie Glass duo prides themselves on involved color applications, Doris Fischer-Colbrie — an artist displaying work at the festival for the third time — said she uses instruments from nature, such as real plants, to make imprints on her pieces.

“(My fascination) with plants and nature, in the beginning, was very, very simplistic,” she explained. “It’s gotten a lot more interesting in the use of design and the glazes and the imprinting.”

Fischer-Colbrie started her work on clay in while completing her PhD in mathematics at UC Berkeley. Similarly to Theofanous, Fischer-Colbrie quit her day job as a teacher at Columbia University and San Diego State University and immersed herself in ceramics 10 years ago.

“When you are working in clay, you can actually get results. You can show people,” she said. “Sometimes in math, you can’t for a while.”

Her festival pieces range from $20 to $300. She specializes in functional clay pieces that she said are one-of-a-kind, such as a stainless rod topped with clay animal heads that can be used like a toothpick cake test to check whether or not a baked good is done cooking. She said she is most excited to present large brown platters decorated with dynamic plant patterns.

“I am very much an artist that wants to include art in just the daily life,” she said. For example, her “Serial Bowls” are bowls that can be stacked into one decorated unit.

Much like Fisher-Colbrie’s attraction to nature, Swanica Ligtenberg — whose work will be displayed at the festival for the first time — has always felt a connection to nature and the “meaning of life,” especially after she moved to Japan.

“As an artist I connect my work with culture, history and mother earth,” she said. “My stay in Japan provided me with insight into how craftsmanship has evolved into art and has become an essential part of the culture and Japanese spirit.”

After returning from her seven-year stay in Japan just a few months ago, she sees how this trip allowed her to fuse her father’s attraction to history and her mother’s attraction to art. She lived with her husband, who was able to start a business there after falling in love with the country 20 years ago, in Kamakura, a city with a rich history in carving and red glaze where Ligtenberg felt right at home. The prices for Ligtenberg’s art will range from $20 to $2,000.

She said at the festival, she will present smoke-patterned pottery that were made with a decorative technique called the horsehair raku technique, in which burning hair leaves permanent lines and smoke blush on the pot. Ligtenberg won several awards for this technique in Japan, like the Mashiko Special Judges award — a highly sought-after prize that honors worldwide known potters.

“I form, transform and decorate my work by playing with the clay and doing research and being influenced by spiritual thoughts and designs: Mother Earth, Circles of Life and Flower of Life, Paths in Life,” she said.

While these three artists find their inspirations in different places, they will all join the numerous other artists in Palo Alto’s 20-year tradition of celebrating creativity in the arts.

What: Palo Alto Clay & Glass Festival
When: Saturday, July 13, and Sunday, July 14, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Where: Palo Alto Art Center, 1313 Newell Road, Palo Alto
Cost: Free
Info: Palo Alto Clay & Glass Festival

Editorial Intern Karishma Mehrotra can be emailed at

Participation in ACGA Festival.

After our move out of Japan this last March I will have my next exhibition at the Palo Alto ACGA Festival.
The ACGA is the Association of Clay and Glass Artists of California.

The festival will be on July 13 + 14, 2013 from 10 am – 5 pm.
It is held at the Palo Alto Art Center at 1313 Newell Rd, Palo Alto, CA USA.

Palo Alto, CA 94303, USA

Over 150 clay + glass artists;
Clay + glass demos;
Hands-on clay activities;
Gourmet food + music;
Free admission.

Info: 650-329-2366 or

I hope you all can come and visit my SwanCeramics Art booth!
Thank you!

New cutting-edge Kamakura-Red works June 2013

I made some new Kamakura-Red works in May and June for the upcoming ACGA Art Festival in Palo Alto, California on July 13 + 14, 2013. ACGA is the Association of Clay and Glass Artists of California.

I started cutting again in my work. I don’t have to take it around the world to Japan at the moment, so it gives me more freedom and exploration. I had lots of fun!

Kamakura-Red “Whirling Wave” Bowl. 



Kamakura-Red “Guri” Bowl.

Kamakura-Red “Nami” Bowl.

Kamakura-Red “Whirling Wave” Vase.



Kamakura-Red “Swirl” Vase.





Kamakura-Red “SwanFlower” Vase.