ACGA Newsletter March 2023


Amina Malika - ACGA student artist
Gabriela Montufar - student ACGA
Cracked Pot by Vince Montague

Where can you go to see a collection of aspiring ceramic artistsfrom across Northern California, reconnect with beloved colleagues, and watch demonstrations and lectures byestablished ceramicists?
The California Conference for the Advancement of Ceramic Art (CCACA) has been a hub of creative clay minds for 36 years; a place where you reconnect with old friends, make new connections and get inspired by the amazing work of our younger generation. As someone who comes from outside of the“clay world”, I have always felt right at home in Davis. CCACA has been proven to attract individuals of the same tribe: creative,dedicated, immensely talented and most of all really fun!

I have been attending CCACA with my husband, ceramics instructor Ian Basset, and his college for years. I enjoy watching students from his program filled with excitement for their first conference. The collaborative experience of setting up the student exhibitions, sharing meals, and making the event possible with many hands has always been such a fulfilling experience.

Just before the COVID shutdown in 2020, I was hired at Laney College in Oakland CA as a full-time faculty in the Art Department. Just as I found myself in my dream job, the world shut down. No more conferences, no more physical connections, no more face-to-face student engagement for the foreseeable future. As the world emerged from lockdown, our sights were directed to reconnecting and resetting. We are thrilled to be attending CCACA this year with Laney College ceramic students. The Art Department at Laney College has emerged stronger and more vibrant and is ready to connect with our extended community and show the amazing work of our students. We hope to see you in Davis this April!

Submitted by
Mary Catherine Bassett, MFA

After 36 years of tradition the John Natsoulas Center for the Arts continues to host the largest sculptural ceramics conference in the world. Conceived by the need for dialogue and direct interaction between artists and students, CCACA 2023 brings the ultimate ceramic sculpture event to Davis, CA. In an intimate setting, you can interact with top artists in a way not possible at other venues. UC Davis, home to the late sculptor Robert Arneson, was instrumental in defining a new direction for ceramic art. Enjoy delightful downtown Davis and be inspired by nationally recognized ceramic art talents.
Demonstrations, lectures, shows—no other event delivers more inspired knowledge of ceramic sculpture for a better price. Meet face-to-face with distinguished ceramic sculptors you might only read about; see and hear from the artists what makes them top in their field.

Amina Malika (student)
Vessel Siblings, StonewareCone 10 Reduction, 5x5x12″, 2022

Gabriela Montufar (student)
Conversationalists, StonewareCone 04, Left: 8x8x20” Right:7x7x16”, 2023

Mary Catherine Bassett
Woodfired Cloud (Dreaming)
Woodfired ceramic, handmade glass, steel
22x16x13, 2023

Low Fire Hand built Stoneware, Crater Glaze
22″ x 22″ x 22″, 2023

ACGA Visits Scott Jennings
MoonDoBang 2023 USA Tour
ACGA Visits Scott Jennings

– What was your introduction to clay?

I was always interested in art and decided to take an art class in high school. Several friends were in the class so it was fun but, as teenagers we were more interested in chatting than working. The teacher gave us an assignment to hand paint all of the advertising signs for the baseball field to keep us busy. That project really taught me about the value of learning tools and materials. I continued in the class and started making handmade tile compositions. The fact that you could form clay into anything was really intriguing to me. After high school I attended Cal State Fullerton and signed up for a ceramics class to fill a General Education requirement. The class was very free and Vince Suez really worked to show us some of the beautiful surfaces and unique things that you can only achieve with clay. I was hooked. I decided to pursue an art degree and completed my BFA in ceramics.

– Can you talk about your evolution in your ceramic studio practice?

After graduating, I moved to San Francisco and spent many years working to support myself but not working in clay. I dabbled in painting but it was not the same. I worked for a “paint your own pottery shop” and gained access to kilns. When my wife and I decided to get married, she suggested that I make cups for our guests. 150 cups later, I began to understand the slow evolution that happens when working since the 150th cup was tremendously different than the first.

Grasping this concept allowed me to begin the dialogue with the work that continues to this day. I moved to Southern California and continued to build my studio practice, establishing a home studio, and for the first time having my own kiln. I got a job as the ceramic lab tech at Mt. San Antonio College and was able to work with many dynamic instructors with their own unique voices in clay. Being in that environment was really inspiring and the job did not deplete my energy so I was able to continue developing my voice. I moved back to SF and worked as the dinnerware production manager at Heath Ceramics for about 5 years. The work was taxing and consequently I made very little work while I was employed there.

I left that position to return to my studio practice and teaching and have never looked back. I’ve had a non linear career path and all of the cul de sacs have contributed to my studio practice and understanding of my journey. All of these moves and re-starts have made me evaluate my approach to clay. The pandemic gave me an incredible opportunity of having time to explore with no self prescribed obligations and I slowly moved away from functional vessels. I realized I assess my work (whether it is a vessel or non-vessel) through the lens of pottery and currently would like to transition to considering my work from the perspective of sculpture.

Now I am thinking a lot about negative space, architecture,and geometry. Being open to what happens next drives my investigation. I respond to visual input, watching, perceiving, always observing.

– Why clay and why hand-building?

I love clay because of what it does, the way it responds, and how immediately the base form can be achieved. Hand building is just one way to get the clay to stand up and I feel it has always made the most sense for achieving the non-mechanical forms that I’m interested in.

– What advice would you give to artists who are just getting started?

Stay the course. Don’t give up because of what you think you should be doing. It’s not a normal life or an easy path.

– How would you like to see the ACGA become more valuable to its members and the larger community?

I’d like to be able to make connections with other artists through workshops, studio visits, and other organized events. More communication and more community.

Submitted by Susie Rubenstein @susie_rubenstein



Berkeley Potters Guild is honored to have an article written about us in Berkeley Hills Living by renowned Berkeley journalist, Lori Pottinger. As we prepare for our month long Seconds Sale and East Bay Open Studios in May, Guild members are passionately making new work to present and organizing great heaps of Seconds!

You are invited to come by to see our passionate efforts. Every Saturday and Sunday in May, 11 to 5.

ACGA Guild members:
Chanda Beck, Mari Emori, Sarah Gregory,Margaret Grisz-Dow, Gail Splaver, Itsuko Zenitani, (Kimi Masui, just retired!)

The Berkeley Potter Guild — one of the oldest continuously operating ceramics cooperatives in the United States — is a treasure trove of clay arts in West Berkeley with an ever-changing display of work backed by decades of skill.

The Guild’s 20 artists include a sculptor who is also experienced in kimono design, interior design and graphic design; a Berkeley psychotherapist whose passion for working with his hands led him to working with clay; a weaver who twines natural elements into her pottery; and a number of ceramicists who are also visual artists. Works from Guild members have over the years been on display at the Oakland Museum of California, the deYoung and Asian Art museums in San Francisco, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Smithsonian and, further afield, the State Historical Museum in Moscow.

The Guild was launched in 1971, in an abandoned window-manufacturing warehouse on Jones Street. A decade later, the founders scraped together funds to buy the building. Over the group’s long tenure, other clay and glass artists have moved into the area. In recent years, the city designated the neighborhood the West Berkeley Artisans District (

Each artist has their own personalized studio and kiln. The Guild is open to the public every Saturday (except in January) from 11am-5pm, and more frequently during two annual open house events: a holiday show (this year Nov. 25th through Dec. 24) and a spring ‘seconds sale’ followed by East Bay Open Studios (all weekends in May). Hand-formed and thrown pieces range from practical, daily-use items —the Guild has a huge diversity of bowls, mugs, plates and cups on offer — to sculptures, vases, bird baths, jewelry, clay art hangings and additional one-of-a-kind items. Custom work is also possible.

The group’s president, Berkeley resident Pamela Zimmerman has been making clay art at the Guild for more than 40 years. “There is so much diversity here now, both in terms of who we are and in how we create,” she says.

Zimmerman emphasizes that the Guild is appreciative of the support from the community, and from the city itself, which has developed policy and planning tools to sustain the arts.

“Over the years the Guild has developed a loyal following not only in Berkeley, but in surrounding communities,” she says. “The City of Berkeley supports the Guild with guidance for our future and by creating the artisans district.”

Having such talent in our midst is both humbling and uplifting. “Handmade ceramic art brings the joy of wabi sabi, Japanese for the beauty of imperfection, and a connection to the person behind the piece,” adds longtime member Margaret Grisz-Dow.

These creative connections help make Berkeley a truly special place.

Learn more: on

Pamela Zimmerman
Sarah Gregory
Chanda Beck
Itsuko Zenitani
Margaret Griz-Dow
Kiyomi Koide
Kiyomi Koide

Article written by Lori Pottinger – Originally published in Berkeley Hills Living
Photos, top to bottom
Vessel by Pamela Zimmerman, Vase by Sarah Gregory, Vases by Chandra Beck, Platter by Margaret Griz-Dow, Pedestel dish by Itsuko Zenitani, Bowls by Kiyomi Koide, On the wheel, Kiyomi Koide
Photographs by Berkeley Potters Guild and Chris Aynesworth

Boardmember Emil Yanos
ACGA Board Member Emil Yanos


I came into ceramics almost by accident. Due to the recession in the early 90’s I was without a job and looking for an activity to fill my days. I found Ruby’s Clay Studio on one of my neighborhood walks. I signed up for a class and was hooked. I took several more classes and began to experiment, working part-time, after work and on the weekends, mostly throwing and making functional work.

I went into hand building after years of throwing because I developed Carpal Tunnel Syndrome from my day job. With a new aesthetic and a new set of skills, my work eventually emerged into what is more intrinsically me, which is mostly rough with a few smooth edges. On my second try, I was finally juried into the ACGA Clay and Glass Festival.

Being part of ACGA raised my awareness to the possibilities of clay and glass. I joined ACGA because I wanted another venue show my art. I found that without ACGA, that venue and the opportunities that come with it wouldn’t be there, so I volunteered to help this organization provide what I was looking for. I started as the Membership Coordinator and continue that role as a board member.

I still work out of Ruby’s Clay Studio, creating textured sculpture that is mainly hand built but sometimes thrown and have fully recovered from CTS. I no longer have a day job, I have an activity to fill my days and some of my nights.

Submitted by Emil Yanos, ACGA Membership Coordinator @emilyanos


OFF CENTER Blue Line Arts



Mary Catherine Bassett
Michele Collier
Mari Emori
Vince Montague
Vince Montague
Mari Emori

Clockwise from top left, works by: Mary Catherine Bassett, Michele Collier, Mari Emori, Mari Emori, Jan Schachter, Vince Montague

OFF CENTER is Blue Line Arts’ annual ceramic art competition, juried each year from entries from across the nation and abroad. Ranging from functional studio pottery to mixed media installations, works in this show offer a vibrant cross section of contemporary clay in a variety of styles. Cash prize awards will be announced at the opening reception. Check out three concurrent solo exhibitions in different mediums while you are at Blue Line Arts.

Exhibition: April 8 – May 20, 2023

Opening Reception: Saturday, April 15, 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Garth Johnson, Paul Phillips and Sharon Sullivan Curator of Ceramics at the Everson Museum of Art

“As someone who is surrounded by the greatest works in the history of studio pottery at the Everson Museum in Syracuse, I’m astounded by the energy that is driving the field today. Community studios are having a hard time meeting the demands of a public that is increasingly turning to ceramics for solace and to transform their environments. The resulting show, OFF CENTER, is truly that. It’s full of work that makes me curious and excited about what is to come.”
— Garth Johnson, Paul Phillips and Sharon Sullivan Curator of Ceramics at the Everson Museum of Art

Congratulations to the five ACGA members who juried into OFF CENTER!

Mary Catherine Bassett: @mcrathergather

Michele Collier: @burningclay

Mari Emori: @emoriceramics

Vince Montague: @vincemontague

Jan Schachter: @janschachter


Blue Line Arts @bluelinearts
405 Vernon St #100, Roseville, CA 95678

(The announcement and images provided by Blue Line Arts)

Open Studio Portola Valley - Jan Schachter

Open Studio – Portola Valley

Jan Schachter will be hosting 5 artists for her open Studio on May 6-7 in her garden at 190 Golden Hills Drive, Portola Valley CA 94028 10am-5 pm
Sally Jackson @sallygjackson, Jane Petermann @clayaddictjane, Lindsay Marx @l_g_marx_art, Peggy Forman, and Nina Else @ninaelse.

We will also have a table of donated work that will be sold to benefit CERF+ @cerfplus

Posted by Jan Schachter

New Soda Kiln at Stanford


June 2,3 &4
10 am-5 pm each day
15576 Waterloo Circle
Truckee, Ca 96161

Come enjoy a lovely day in Truckee,
browse a wide selection of functional
pottery and sculptural pieces in both an
outdoor garden setting and inside my potterystudio.
Posted by Barbara Glynn Prodaniuk


ACGA Artist Barbara Sebastian

May 6 – 7, May 13 – 14
11am – 5pm

Reception: May 12, 5pm – 8pm

Marin Society of Artists – Open Studios

1515 Third Street, San Rafael, CA

Vicki Gunter
Emil Yanos


Art & Ecology
juried by Obi Kaufmann
with poetry by Linda Martinez Robertson

O’Hanlon Center for the Arts
Artists were invited to submit works that address the subject of Ecology including the topic of climate change and environmental resilience.

Featuring work by ACGA artists Vicki Gunter and Emil Yanos

Sky Blues – Canary & Elephant Series, 2014
Clay, glazes, antique bailing wire, steel plate, magnets, 24h x 31w x 5d inches
Sky Blues represents the air all life breathes, and a few of the endangered animals that live in the California skies: the CA Condor, Bay Checkerspot, Smith Blue and Monarch butterfly with bejeweled chrysalis. I was in awe of the Monarch chrysalis as a child. How does it paint that gold on there? The cautionary yellow Canary alerts us of the Elephants in the room: Loss of habitat, Roundup® = less milkweed = fewer monarchs. A Lead bullet; Condors are dying from lead poisoning due to eating abandoned game, but, celebrate a bit! As of 2019, all ammunition must be 100% lead free in California. It’s still a problem so if you are a hunter beware of your ammunition please. Smoke stack srepresent air pollution from numerous sources, causing asthma in our children, especially those of color and lower incomes.Will we choose a profit-driven-system of over-consumption or the awe of the Monarch chrysalis?

Stoneware, glazes, engobes, 13h x 13w x 4d inches
My work is an examination of texture. Each piece plays with contrasting surfaces: rough verses smooth; matte verses shiny; large-scale verses small-scale, adding visual depth and tactile interest. Textures, drawn from the natural world—such as seed pods, barnacles, and rocky outcroppings. They are an invitation to touch. As you run your hands over, the sensation is a reminder of a place you once enjoyed.

Cling is reminiscent of the tide pools I was intrigued with growing up in Hawaii. These depressions in the rocks captured creatures, and pebbles, and shells as the waves crashed over them. We are now clinging to our land as the sea levels rise we as are caught between land to live and land to grow food.

Submitted by Emil Yanos @emilyanos

Vicki Gunter

Visions in Clay Call for Entries

Entry is open now through June 26, 2023
Exhibition Juror:
Joan Takayama-Ogawa, Professor of Ceramics and Product Design, Otis College of Art & Design, Los Angeles,California

Gallery & Online Exhibition:
August 28 – September 21, 2023
August 31, 5:00-7:00p.m.

Gallery Awards
$800 | $600 | $400
San Joaquin Potters Guild Founders Award ~ $300
Regional Artist Award $800

Entry Fees:
$30 for 3 entries / $45 up to 6 entries
For the complete Prospectus Guidelines and to enter go to:

– Call for entries
LH Horton Jr. Gallery, San Joaquin Delta College
5151 Pacific Ave.
Stockton, CA

ACGA Clay & Glass Festival at the Palo Alto Art Center


Clay & Glass Festival at the Palo Alto Art Center – July 15-16, 2023

Our annual clay and glass festival is held on the beautiful grounds of the Palo Alto Art Center on July 15-16, 2023.




Members who want to share upcoming news, events, milestones, studio equipment for sale, shows, awards, and other craft-related items with our audience of fellow artists and collectors can now fill out a few lines on our website and get posted to our online calendar of events or our news page.

Submission Process, Learn More:


Date of Next Meeting: Wednesday, April 12, 2023, 5:30pm



This space is envisioned for future listings of upcoming calendar events. Since we have only just launched the submission process in this mailing, we do not have any current events at this time. Please follow the submission process outlined herein.

Professional Kiln Repair Service
NorCal Kiln Repair- “Professional Bay Area repair service since 2006”
· evaluation & repair: ceramic & glass kilns (gas & electric)
· tutorials: operation, safety, maintenance, custom programming
· evaluation & repair: pottery wheels, pug mills, slab rollers
· ventilation repair & installation / studio safety & setup consultations
· new & used kiln recommendations / appraisals: buying & selling
· ceramics troubleshooting: clays, glaze, construction, firing, etc.
Joseph Kowalczyk (Ko-väl-chick)
kiln & ceramics specialist
510 601-5053 ·

Address changes and Membership Changes – Please send all address changes to the membership chair EmilYanos,

ACGA’s Website – Check out our website

The home page now features an ‘artist of the month.’ Populate your own page, and update often. To create and edit your profi  le page, go to the For Members menu, choose Member login, and follow the instructions to find and edit your profile.
Need a website password? Email Emil Yanos at

We look forward to hearing from you!

Follow and Like us on FaceBook (@ClayandGlass) and Instagram (@theACGA)
The ACGA News is sent through MailChimp. If your email bounces you or you have been unsubscribed, you can sign up again – contact Communications Lead Ren Lee at:

Join the ACGA social media group

Link to the Google group:

To email all members via the ACGA Google group you must be a member. Address your clay/glass-related message to:
There are two ways that you can engage in google groups without a gmail account:
1. Via email only
With a non-gmail email address you can still participate in all of the google group activities by replying to emailsand/or sending an email to to start a new thread. You do not have to create any google accounts to do this. If you’re seeing this email, then you’re in the group and can respond to emails like this one that will be sent to the entire group.

More details on how to create and respond to google group messages in the FAQ!
2. Make a google account
While it’s not necessary to have a google account to participate in the google group, you can create one with your non-gmail email address to get access to the google group site, which just aggregates the ACGA google group conversations in one place that’s easy to review and search.

Board of Directors – 2023
2023 Officers
President: Mari Emori
Vice President: TBD
Secretary: Sally Jackson
Treasurer: April Zilber
Lee Middleman, Jan Schachter, Joe Battiato, Emil Yanos, Trudy Chiddix, Cheryl Costantini,
Chris Johnson, Ren Lee, Susie Rubenstein, Iver Hennig, Sonja Hinrichson, Vicki Gunter, Barbara Prodaniuk

Committee Chairs
Communication – Ren Lee
Exhibitions – Jan Schachter
Festival Liaison – April Zilber
Festival Jury Coordinator – Chris Johnson
Historian – Cuong Ta
Int’l Ambassador – Barbara Brown
Membership Coordinator – Emil Yanos