ACGA Newsletter May 2023


ACGA 30th Annual Clay and Glass Festival
ACGA 30th Annual Clay and Glass Festival
ACGA 30th Annual Clay and Glass Festival

Who’s looking forward to the 2023 ACGA Clay & Glass Festival in Palo Alto? We can’t wait! The Festival celebrates 30 years on July 15-16 at the Palo Alto Art Center, 1313 Newell Road.

“For 30 years, ACGA artists have brought their fi nest clay and glass creations to Palo Alto, and we are so appreciative of our customers’ past patronage,” said Mari Emori, ACGA Board President.
“We invite everyone to come celebrate with us July 15 and 16 to see the latest works from our juried artists. It’s a great time to shop for home and family while supporting our California artists.”

“We invite everyone to come celebrate with us July 15 and 16 to see the latest works from our juried artists. It’s a great time to shop for home and family while supporting our California artists.”

Scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, July 15 and 16, at the Palo Alto Art Center, 1313 Newell Road, this year promises to be an awesome art experience for all.

For two days, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., California’s top clay and glass artists will off er their finest work for purchase. More than 100 juried artists are participating.

There will also be live demos, food and drink. Admission is free, and valet parking is available.

From functional to fine art, the beloved ACGA Clay & Glass Festival has it all. ACGA artists are still welcome to participate by contacting Festival Producer Annie Hermes of Messenger Events at

30th Annual ACGA Clay & Glass Festival July 15 - 16


Glenn Evans - 2023 ACGA Clay & Glass Festival

Taka Unno

I am a ceramicist based in San Francisco. I am fascinated by the concept of beauty in imperfection. My ultimate goal is to reflect the concept in my ceramic design and create flow and harmony.

I hope you will enjoy my works.

Taka Unno

Gabriela Montufar - student ACGA

Cory Ballis

I work with hand blown glass that is melted in a furnace.  Before I start blowing glass I will hand mix 10+ colors that I will use throughout my body of work. Once I have the correct amount of glass I will add color to the outside of the vessel.  This gives the glass a textured finish.  This texture is achieved by different colors stretching and expanding at different rates and it feels very nice in the hand.  The vessel is then blown to shape.  For my drinkware I use blow molds to achieve roughly a common shape.

Cory Ballis

Fred Stodder - 2023 ACGA CLay & Glass Festival

Fred Stodder

Fred Stodder grew up in Laguna Beach California and began seriously studying ceramics at age 16. By the time he was 18 he was exhibiting his ceramic work. He went on to receive a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of California, Irvine.

His ceramic art is regularly exhibited in galleries and museums throughout the country. He is the recipient of numerous awards, appears in many important collections and has been featured in Ceramics Monthly as well as other national arts publications. Fred has exhibited at the Festival of Arts for at least 30 years.

Fred Stodder

Tamara Danoyan - 2023 ACGA CLay & Glass Festival

Tamara Danoyan

I am inspired by lithop and conophytum plants, which grow in South Africa and Namibia. I am inspired by their size, coloring, and button-like shape. Another body of work would be sculptural vessels. These pieces are bisqued and then printed on with various leaves and flowers. The process is called eco printing or botanical printing. The plants leave their imprints and give their pigment to clay. You never know for sure what you are going to get. The transformation continues as the moisture dissipates: certain colors fade, others appear, new shapes come through.

Tamara Danoyan


ACGA Visits Peter Vizzuzi

Peter Vizzuzi Glass Artist
Peter Vizzuzi Glass Artist
Peter Vizzuzi Glass Artist
MoonDoBang 2023 USA Tour

ACGA: Tell us about your journey with Glass. How old were you when you began and when did you first know you wanted it to be your profession?
I found my life’s work, inadvertently- seeing hot glass action across the hall from the ceramics studios at San Jose State where I was an avid student, then at Old Town, Los Gatos, where the self-styled pirate Rick Strini had built a rudimentary furnace. Then, fortuitously, during the Italian section of my post-college European tour, hopelessly lost, November, cold and wet, in the Venetian maze, I boarded the wrong vaporetto and ended up out on Murano where I strolled past a dozen glass studios; furnaces blazing, alive with hot glass activity.  One particular shop seemed welcoming, and I warmed myself, shared some of my American cigarettes, and watched them make some generic tourist ware.

ACGA: What were the most important things you learned that prepared you for life as a glass artist?
By the next year, at age 24, I caught the wave of 1970s, post-college, baby-boom entrepreneurial energy, and landed a hot glass job in Santa Cruz making stems, feet, and punties (for about $8 per hour, and working the booth at the Renaissance Fairs in Novato and L.A., bringing our early goblets and art vessels directly to the market.

This early to mid-70s era was the perfect environment for self invention. Without tradition, and with a scarcity of technique, information, materials, tools, etc. aspiring “glass artists” had to build it themselves.  We salvaged, scavenged, re-purposed, repaired, and “appropriated” when necessary. We spent more time in scrap metal yards than in museums. I traded my sports car for a pickup, grew a beard to look older, learned some very basic combustion engineering and safety systems, got a permit, and built my own studio at the Santa Cruz Art Center.

I need to mention that many of us who worked hot glass in California owe some of our technique, work ethic, and general “hot shop” culture to the young Mexican glass blowers from Guadalajara who worked with us here.

ACGA: What prepared you for a life in glass?

I was a decent ceramicist, I could build things (my dad was a craftsman, a draftsman, and a general contractor), I surfed with my future boss, was enamored of his girlfriend, was ambidextrous with good depth perception. I was attracted to the intense heat, and was generally available.

ACGA:  How Do You Determine Pricing? 

I’ve used the intuitive method. Pricing in just enough profit to maintain a decent lifestyle in our desirable location. There’s a sweet spot in pricing a functional glass or decorative art vessel, a price point that’s reasonable to our customers, but covers the considerable overhead (energy, labor, materials, equipment, shipping, insurance, coffee, etc.).  These days, later in my career, I’m more inclined to hold on to pieces that may represent my work in a future historic collection.

ACGA:  What do you love most? 

Initially I was attracted to the rhythm, choreography, and immediacy of glass making, and I still enjoy the meditative repetition of a productive day.  I’m proud to identify as artigiano, working with traditional techniques, guided by my own design sensibility. On rare occasions, I’ll wander into the studio and be inadvertently  surprised by my own work- the shapes, colors, the iridescence, the textures, and patterns; as if someone else had made them, with myself as medium, briefly communicating with long-forgotten glass masters.

ACGA:  What is your advice to someone considering a career in the crafts? 

Dive deeply into your chosen medium, specialize, master at least one technique, experiment (and record the data), change the formula, break the mold, be alert for the felix culpa, find your own voice. Know your audience and make something they absolutely can’t resist.

ACGA:  People would be surprised to know that…

The late, esteemed Czech glass luminary and master Stanislav Libenský once asked me, across the table at Pilchuck Glass School, to “Please pass the salt”.

Submitted by Cheryl Costantini for Peter Vizzuzi

Remembering Jim  Melchert

Jim Melchert - Artist

Reposted from Nancy M Servis @servisarts

My heart breaks to write these words but my friend Jim Melchert (1930-2023) passed away at his home on June 1st at the age of 93. Over his 50 year career, he has cast a remarkably long shadow of grace and influence in the Bay Area art community. Jim has left behind an inspiring legacy of kindness, curiosity, compassion and a lifetime of uplifting the agency of others. He was part of a generation of artists that made ceramics a contemporary art form. That in itself is an uncommon feat, but, it was his desire to be of service to others more broadly that led him to become the NEA Director of Visual Arts, the director of the American Academy in Rome, and a professor at UC Berkeley. Jim’s life was a light for me, beginning a path that showed me how one could live a life in the arts, both as an artist and one who used their agency to assist others along the way.

Read more about the life and work of Jim Melchert in “Jim Melchert | Works of Resonance” by Nancy M Servis. Originally published in Ceramics: Art and Perception No 100, 2015, reprinted with permission of the author.

Meet Your Board Member Chris Johnson, Hot Glass

Chris Johnson - ACGA Board Member
Chris Johnson - ACGA Board Member

I came to glass through a convoluted process– not through college or employment, but through curiosity. I was pursuing blacksmithing when I was first exposed to glassblowing at the Northern California Renaissance Faire in 1991. I started learning how to work with the medium for a couple of seasons, and really enjoyed it. But then life took over and I didn’t get back to glassblowing for 7 years. In the meantime I enrolled in San Francisco State, where I studied film, print and color management on desktop computers. It turned out that all of that work helped to inform my direction in the medium of glass. During that time I developed a sense of design, and more crucially, color, which is now a central focus for me in my glass art. Another factor that  contributed to being able to pursue glass was the years I had been working as a general contractor, which also provided me with a useful skill set that served me well when it came time  to build my own shop.

In 1999 I was  offered an apprenticeship with Art Ramos, of J. Fine Glass. After a couple of years with Art,  I got a job as the glass studio manager  at the Bay Area Glass Institute (BAGI, and ) a few years later I was hired by Clifford Rainey at The California College of Arts and Crafts (now CCA). I have also taught at MIT and San Jose State University. The time at CCA was invaluable; my time as studio manager allowed me to deepen my knowledge of the craft and learned a wide range of techniques (including fusing and slumping, kiln casting, and cold working)  as well as how to build and maintain a hot shop. I also learned how to manage and mentor a large shop full of college students. This experience at CCA helped me develop and refine my skills, and prepared me to design and build my own hot shop a few years later.

Ultimately I took up glass because it’s potential fascinated me. And I like hot things.

I always figured that when you look at a piece of glass that the first thing you see Is the color; the second thing you see is the shape. I believe that color speaks to us on a very direct level, and has the ability to awaken and energize our awareness. There is no other medium besides glass that places color in such a relationship to light, and it is only by light that we perceive color. Because of the ability of light to pass through and illuminate the glass, we can experience color at its most beautiful intensity. My goal is to continually push the boundaries of the medium in order to explore new possibilities for color so that I can offer truly original pieces that surprise and delight. Though I am always reaching for the new, my work is rooted in an artisan tradition that dates back over two millennia, a tradition I am proud to be a part of. I create each of my pieces — drinking glasses, vases, lighting bells, and sculpture—by hand, using only hand tools and the blowpipe.

I have always added some kind of random element to all of my designs. “Stochastic glass” is the term I use to describe my interest in chance operations in the creation of glass. From the Greek word for “random,” stochastic is a term most commonly used in mathematical probability theory, suggesting the deliberate incorporation of a random element into a set of known variables. The creation of art glass using Stochastic techniques depends upon the ability of the artist to respond to the combination of both unpredictable and known behaviors when molten glass is exposed to intense manipulation such as stretching, reheating, layering, cracking, and crimping. Each piece I create is the happy combination of design, skill, and serendipity.

For example, I have recently been developing a new effect that creates wispy lines and reticulated patterns in certain colors. I call it “fingerprinting.” This new effect complements an old line of work I call the turbulent series, which I am now revisiting, as well as being sufficiently interesting to stand on its own as a design.  It starts with radical manipulation of color prior to shaping the glass. This results in a 3-D like quality in these pieces and produces random designs that lead the viewer to find their own imagery in  each piece (example above).

I love sharing my knowledge of glass and frequently do (my partner claims I  talk about it incessantly). Fortunately I have an outlet; I spend a great deal of my time teaching glass both privately and through our local Cabrillo Community college art’s extension program. There is nothing like the joy expressed by someone’s first taste of working with this magical material. I am currently running lessons in glass blowing Wednesday nights with a group of continuing  students.

I joined the board of ACGA in order to deepen my professional ties to the arts community in our area, and to give back to the community that has supported me. As a board member it has been my privilege to run the jury that selects new members to join our Festival. I have been very proud to watch the jury take such care in discussing and considering each and every applicant with open minds and a critical eye. Every jury is different yet I have noticed one aspect they all share, which is that they all want to arrive at  a clean and bias free conclusion. Watching the deliberation has been wonderful and fascinating. They do not spare their opinions yet they all listen to each other in full measure. I would like to thank each and every juror for taking the many hours it takes to be on the jury and for their service to our group, and for welcoming new artists into the ACGA community.

Submitted by Chris Johnson, ACGA Festival Jury Coordinator @chrisjohnsonglass


Animal Portraiture - Mendocino Art Center

Enrollment now open for Animal Portraiture @mendocinoartcenter
June 23 – 25
Friday–Sunday, 9:30am – 3:30pm
Structure of Class: (3) 6-hour in-person studio sessions
All levels
On-site housing available

@mendocinoartcenter 45200 Little Lake Street, Mendocino, CA 95460,

(707) 937-5818

Join ceramic artist Wesley Wright and learn to sculpt animal heads and portrait busts in clay! Using reference imagery participants can create any animal, exotic, common, or their own pet. This 3-day intensive will give students the opportunity to create detailed, expressive, and refined animal portraits. Wesley will demonstrate hollow building techniques, how to use references imagery, and other processes. Day 1 will focus on establishing the overall form. Day 2 will deal with subtleties of form and begin detail work. Day 3 will address details such as eyes, flesh, musculature, and of course, fur! The final product will be a bust or head sculpture that can be mounted on a wall or free standing.

Reposted from Wesley Wright Instagram

Animal Portraiture - Mendocino Art Center

Alternative Materials and Finishes – Stretching the Creative Process


LOCATION: Mendocino Art Center

INSTRUCTOR: Rocky Lewycky
CLASS TITLE: Alternative Materials and Finishes: Stretching the Creative Process
DATE(S):  August 21 – 27, 2023
DAYS OF WEEK: Monday – Sunday
HOURS: 9:30 am to 4:30 pm
SKILL LEVEL: Intermediate/Advanced

COST: $1155

The heart of this workshop is in the exploration of alternative firings. We will be working and exploring everyday with new firing techniques and processes. Students will bring both greenware and bisqueware to the workshop to fulfill each process. You can visit my website and click on “workshops” to see examples of what you will be learning in the workshop. Below is a list of firings that we will be exploring:

–   Ferric Chloride Saggar Burritos
–   Ferric Chloride Spray Over Clear Crackle
–   Pit Fire over Greenware Terra-Sigillata Base
–   Pit Fire over Bisqueware Terra-Sigillata with Mica Colorants Base
–   Horse Hair/Feather Firing with GreenwareTerra-Sigillata Base
–   Cone 7 Seashell Side-Fire with Matte Crystal Glazes (Oxidation)
–   Cone 11 Side-Fire Shino with Wood Ash (Reduction)

Along with our exploration of alternative firing techniques, we will also spend some time experimenting with alternative materials and surface treatments.  will demonstrate how to make and use the following:

–   Greenware Greek Style Terra Sigillata (Greenware)
–   Greenware Terra-Sigillata with Mason Stain Colorants
–   Bisqueware Terra Sigillata with Mica Colorants
–   Paper Clay with Burnout Legumes
–   Feldspar Inclusions
–   Micaceous Clay

Finally, I will teach you how to clean and finish your pots with the following techniques:
–   Dremel Tool Sanding of Side Fire Wares
–   Wax Sealing of Low Fire Wares
–   Introduction to Gold Leafing Materials and Sizing Demo

**Please note that you will need to purchase an organic vapor mask to participate in the Ferric Chloride processes  (~$45). In preparation for the workshop, you will need approximately 20-40 small to medium pieces at various stages of completion. Please allow enough time for this planning. Detailed information will be provided upon registration.

Submitted by Rocky Lewycky @rockylewycky,

East Bay Open Studios 2023

Wine Country Teapot Workshop with Miki Shim

Join Miki shim on this one-day teapot workshop and wine tasting in Sonoma Valley, California.

Participants will use hand-building techniques to design and construct functional and decorative teapots.
After the workshop, enjoy wood-fired pizza and wine tasting reception hosted by Quail Run Winery.

Fee: $325, includes all materials for the workshop, morning refreshments, lunch and evening wine tasting reception.

Submitted by Miki Shim


Kathy Palli

Kathy Pallie “From the Fire” It is a set of 5 raku fired ceramic leaves each 21”H x 5”L with 2” deep mounting blocks for wall installation.

Emil Yanos

Emil Yanos “Outcropping” Ceramic wall sculpture, Thrown, carved and altered. Ungerglazes, fired to cone 5. 10.75″h x 10.75″w x 3.25″d

Landscape Perspectives

June 2–July 22, 2023
June 9, 5–8pm: Reception and Art Walk
July 14, 5–8pm: Reception and Art Walk

The exhibit, Landscape Perspectives, reimagines and celebrates traditional landscape-based artwork by offering a diverse collection of expressions, approaches, and interpretations. From realism to surrealism, to abstraction, and beyond; viewers will surely enjoy this multi-dimensional experience.

Exhibiting Artists: Chris Adessa, Sheldon Bachus, Barry Beach, Benjamin Benet, Debra Bibel, Jenny Blackburn, John Bucklin, Annette LeMay Burke, Morgan Carhart, Gail Caulfield, Dana Christensen, Patrick Cosgrove, Norma Dimaulo, Janey Fritsche, April Gavin, Wendy Goldberg, Lisa Gonzalves, Gail Gurman, Janet Jacobs, Clementine Keenan, Catherine Lee, Kathleen Lipinski, Liz Mamorsky, Michael Manente, Gary Marsh, Gail Morrison, Kathy Pallie, Cindy Pavlinac, Amrita Singhal, Sue Weil, Rusty Weston, Emil Yanos, June Yokell, Jeffrey Zalles

Juror: Kim Eagles-Smith, owner and director Kim Eagles-Smith Gallery, Mill Valley CA,

Juror Statement:
“In my selections for this exhibit I used the following guidelines:  The artist’s ambition, that they made a serious attempt to create a work of substance. That the artist exhibited a suitable rigor of craftmanship. I was also looking for examples  that began with a creative idea to express the theme of this show and was more than a simple depiction. I also was mindful of selecting as much diversity of media as the limits of selection and works submitted would allow.” —Kim Eagles-Smith

Submitted by Emil Yanos  @emilyanosdesign

NY2CA Gallery Presents “Reciprocity”

A Two Person Exhibition
by Melina Meza
and Melissa Woodburn

June 8 – Aug. 6
Artists’ Reception June 10, 3–6pm
617 – 1st Street, Benicia, CA

Immerse yourself in the beauty of artistic expressions and celebrate the reciprocal relationship between art, nature, and the human spirit. At the reception for artists, experience visual delight, harmonious sounds, and culinary pleasures as they seamlessly come together at this extraordinary exhibition.

Submitted by Melissa Woodburn

Glass Hart Open Studios

Delicious – Works Inspired by Food and Drink

Studio Gallery
June 8th – July 3rd, 2023
Opening Reception:
Sunday, June 11th, 2 – 5 pm
This is always a wonderful show of mostly small works from local artists in all media.  Melissa Woodburn is showing two ceramic sculptures from her persimmon series. To see the online galleries click here.

Submitted by Melissa Woodburn

Delicious - Work Inspired by Food and Drink
Liz Lauter - Majolica

Majolica Garden
Ceramics by Liz Lauter

The San Geronimo Valley Community Center debuts Liz Lauter’s Tree of Life solo ceramics collection. Her recent work features elaborately embellished Arbol de la Vida candelabra forms, wall mounted sculptures and “istoriato” painted platters with narrative themes of Adam & Eve in the Garden of Eden as seen from Eve’s perspective. She uses the traditional Italian majolica technique of terra cotta clay, tin glaze and vibrant hand painted overglaze colors.

Liz’s clay artwork weaves threads of Mexican folk art, Islamic design, and botanical illustration into her own form of expression which is new at the same time familiar. They all meet in her Garden of Eden.

Gallery hours: 12-5 and M-F from 10-5

Artist Reception with Liz Sunday, July 9th from 4-7

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


Our communications tools now allow members to post their news items directly to the ACGA News Blog, for daily publication. Posts must be admin-approved and may take up to 48 hours to appear in the blog. Incomplete submissions may take longer. The web-based news blog is a living document and posts items in the order they are published. You can scroll through the entire history of the ACGA News here:

In addition, our monthly ACGA newsletter is emailed to approximately 5500 subscribers. This news is less time-sensitive than more immediate forms of communication such as the news blog and our social media accounts on Instagram and Facebook.

Social media is the most effective and most instantaneous way to reach your audience, provide a platform that can be posted to repeatedly and often. We encourage members to cultivate their own social media accounts on facebook and instagram, to build your own audience and market your wares. We are happy to amplify your message to our followers from time to time when the following conditions are met:

  • Captions must include who, what, where, when details.
  • Posts must relate to something a collector or student can engage with such as a gallery event, an open studio, or an upcoming sale. Posts that lack context will not be reposted.
  • We will not repost items projecting more than 2 weeks in the future.
  • Posts should be tagged @theacga to ensure we can find them

ACGA social media accounts have more than 17,000 followers, so following these guidelines could be valuable to you. News items must be written in grammatically correct form, include all details including names (first and last) of members involved, links to artist websites or social media, studio or gallery locations and hours of operation.

Be aware that we have over 350 members and will strive to be fair and equitable, and to showcase the wide variety of accomplished artists who comprise our group. Publication is not guaranteed, and is not a perquisite of membership. If you have an event with frequent updates or an extended window of time, we expect you to manage your news on your end and we may or may not repost at our discretion.



Date of Next Meeting: Monday, June 12, 2023, 5:30pm

All ACGA members in good standing are invited to attend our monthly board meeting on zoom. To receive a zoom invitation for the next meeting, email your request to Mari Emori,


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!

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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