About

juanaluz

I was raised in Bogotá Colombia, with an appreciation for handmade things and a love for working with my hands. I can say that my first connection with clay and my first small fortune were made when I was 5 years old, and I had to scrub terra cotta pots at my Mamá’s plant nursery at 2 pesos a pot. I also remember family trips to a local majolica factory, and to Ráquira (town of pots in the indigenous Chibcha language), where entire families have been making pots from generation to generation since pre-Columbian times. I remember being awestruck watching potters turn lumps of clay into familiar household forms.

In 1996, I came to the US to study. Although I did not take any ceramics classes at school, through living in Athens I became aware of what studio pottery is, as opposed to the production operations I once knew. I came to know (and love) the work by Ron Meyers, Michael Simon, and other local potters. After acquiring a few pieces and making them part of the daily life of my family, I was curious to try my hand at clay. I took a throwing class in 2007, and I have been making pots ever since. I believe that my education as a potter is ongoing and, in different proportions at different times, it has been derived (first) from reading and attending classes and workshops by local and nationally known artists; (second) from the pots we own and use everyday, which seem to take time to reveal all of their details and magic; and (three) from long hours spent in the studio, working through the challenges and learning from the process.

I pay special attention to functionality and simplicity of form: pots are tools, vessels that bring nourishment. I believe that a good pot is one that works well, feels good, is well crafted, and which, in addition, transmits some spirit and liveliness from the potter to the user. I strive to create that kind of work. Most of my pieces start on the wheel as simple forms with straight sides, which I later alter off-the-wheel, stretching, paddling, and squeezing their final geometries. I enjoy leaving marks that reveal the process. I also like adding drawings or textures to the surface of the clay, creating varying depths for the glazes to recede and pool, while also creating a more personal layer of meaning.

In addition to working in my studio, I have enjoyed sharing my love of clay through teaching. From 2008 until 2012, I organized and taught a pottery class for Latino women. Since 2009, I have also taught Summer (and sometimes afterschool) clay classes for children at the Lyndon House Arts Center. From 2008 until 2012, I worked as a studio assistant at Good Dirt clay studio. I have been part of local pottery and art sales since 2009. In 2012, I joined the Long Road Studios clay collective, which has biannual sales in the area. I also host annual Spring and Holiday sales at my studio, Normaltown Pottery, with guest potters Nancy Green and Carter Gillies. My studio is open all year round by appointment, with work for sale and work in progress.