Katie Aldworth is a studio artist at District Clay and supplies restaurants around the area with her distinctive minimalist ware. Her work was recently featured in Edible DC. She also teaches ceramics to troubled youth at the Cheltenham Youth Detention Center in Maryland.
She is part of our kiln fire team and one of the first people to join District Clay.
Kristen Avil has a background in art education and spent the last few years as an elementary art teacher in Northern Virginia.
Kristen Avil is interested in not just the function of a piece but also it’s textural and compositional qualities. To create her porcelain jewelry and button bowls, she uses antique buttons originally used by her great-grandmother, a seamstress, to carefully craft each piece. She also hand builds porcelain vessels and wall decorations.
The carvings in the walls of the vessels and detailed feathers convey a sense of tranquility and symmetry found in nature. Each piece is individually made, making no two exactly alike.
Samantha Briegel was born and raised in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains in Knoxville, Tennessee. Samantha received her BFA in Three-Dimensional Arts at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville in May of 2013. After graduation, her passion for pottery led her to Helena, Montana where she interned at Archie Bray Foundation Clay Business.
After completing her internship, Samantha moved to Missoula, Montana to study ceramics at the University of Montana as a post-baccalaureate student. Samantha has recently received her Masters of Fine Arts in ceramics at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. She is a resident artist at the District Clay Center.
Carol Herwig has been making and building pots for more than 30 years in Washington DC. What began as therapy has become an avocation.
Carol began, and continues to study with Jill Hinckley, as have many potters in the DC area. She taught summer camp and after school pottery programs for children and teens at the Sitar Center for the Arts in Adams Morgan for three years before coming to District Clay.
In her other life, Carol was a newspaper journalist for more than 35 years, mostly covering sports for USA TODAY, and is now a certified arborist. She has a small landscape business based in Petworth, where she lives with her husband, two dogs and too many cats.
Growing up in Japan, Atsushi was exposed to many great ceramists from Mashiko. Their functional art inspired him to start his ceramic career by making tea bowls and flower pots for tea ceremonies using a Raku kiln and wood firing.
In the U.S., he studied fine arts at Cal State Chico in California and expanded his interest in ceramics to sculptural work. Today, Atsushi particularly enjoys combining clay with different materials or textures, like rope, wood, feathers, and fur. His work may be described as conceptual craft, which is hybrid between art and craft and ranges from highly functional to more decorative or contemplative pieces.
His motto in the classroom is "If you can imagine it, you can build it!"
Jon Kerr began working with clay in high school, continued in college and rounded studies out with classes at the Torpedo Factory. His focus is functional ceramics, and he enjoys pushing the material in new directions, always interested in novel forms. When seeking solace from a cubicle without windows day job, he renewed his passion for working with clay in 2007.
Since then Jon manages the clay studio at Guy Mason Recreation Center in Glover Park, teachers classes at Thomas Jefferson Community Center and Guy Mason and is a substitute ceramics teacher at the Potomac School in Washington DC. He has attended conferences and workshops ranging from NCECA in Houston to Simon Leach. When not teaching and working with clay, Jon is a freelance graphic designer.
My work begins as an exploration of geometry, and my goal is for the form and surface to work together to bring the work alive. Making the work starts with a sketch representing a simple three dimensional form.
It continues with manipulations on paper and in clay to define volume, and finishes with the laying of color from glaze and flame.
Inspiration for my work comes most often from sketches and drawings which explore form and line.
Slabs cut free form, loosely based on the drawings begin the process, an exploration of the corners and lines that define volume. I am constantly striving to recreate the loose freedom of the two dimensional line in three dimensional form.
Pottery, functional not in its connection to sustenance but in its ability to contain space, must still relate to the human body, its surface pleasant to the hand, its form interesting to the eye.
“I am driven by the insatiable pursuit of the “good pot”. Successful in terms of tactile, visual, and functional attributes; lastingly significant when packed with the passion of the maker- reflecting humanity, and contributing to the craft.”
J. Chris Landers
"The society we live in today is constantly in a rush, with most not taking the time to stop and appreciate life. When we fail to pause and notice the seemingly insignificant details of the world around us, we are robbing ourselves of meaningful thoughts and introspections. Through my work, I hope that you will be able to touch, sense, and enjoy the everyday phenomena that we as a society so frequently overlook.
It is my sincere hope that by exposing the public to my visions of the simplistic and imperfect, I will encourage my observers to take some time out of their hectic routine to appreciate the beauty of the under appreciated aspects of one's daily life."
Chris is an accomplished wood fire studio potter and also runs the Clay Co-op in Rockville which offers studio space, exhibition opportunities and artist residencies. Chris recently completing his MFA in ceramics at Hood College.
Chris teaches our Monday and Thursday wheel classes.
Jill Ross Meltzer
A new Studio Artist at the District Clay Center, Jill has taught beginning to advanced wheel throwing for over seven years.
Before moving to DC, she was an Associate at The Clay Studio in Philadelphia and a professional member of the Potters Guild in Wallingford, PA. Jill graduated with a degree in Ceramics from The George Washington University/Corcoran School of Art and has attended many workshops around the country. In her previous life, Jill was a practicing attorney in DC.
Jill’s primary interest is in making functional one-of-a-kind serving pieces with a decided bent towards the decorative. Harmonizing the demands of utility with those of imparting some measure of magic to everyday things is a challenge she finds inspiring.
Cole Norton learned to throw in 2001, but remembers digging clay from the creeks of northern Pennsylvania as a kid.
The sixth of seven children, he learned traditional folk crafts and skills from his parents and grandparents. Cole credits his rural upbringing and close knit family as the inspiration for his love of nature and functional art.
Cole has been an Associate Artist at DCC for over a year and is a member of the kiln firing team. His one eyed dog, Bebe, can often be seen following him around the studio as she supervises his work.
Mike succumbed to clay’s quiet seduction in 2001 after enrolling in a wheel throwing class at Hinckley Pottery. Under Jill Hinckley’s tutelage, he quickly advanced from apprentice to instructor, and now has ten years experience teaching children and adults to throw pots, in community studios and privately.
He loves throwing pots, but he loves teaching more. There is magic in centering a ball of clay, and alchemy in the firing of it; Mike strives for the magic.
Mike teaches at a variety of ceramic studios in the Washington area, including District Clay, Hinckley Pottery and the Glen Echo Community Center.