9: Sam Clarkson

Native Santa Cruz Clay Pottery Location: 15 Patrick Rd

Sam Clarkson has been involved in the ceramic arts for over 20 years, and has exhibited nationally and internationally.  He lives and works in the mountains of Santa Cruz, CA, and teaches ceramics at Cabrillo College in Aptos, CA.  Sam has a BA from Pomona College, and an MFA from Penn State University, where he pioneered the use of liquid biofuels in ceramics.  Sam’s current passion is creating wood fired pieces with native clays from the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Quilted Cup by Sam Clarkson

Quilted Cup

In the last two years I’ve left almost everything familiar from my last 23 years in ceramics in order to use the earth near my home to create. This work is wood-fired native Santa Cruz Mountain clay: I dig it by hand, drive it home, and process it in my studio. There are no additives except for my labor. The clay is not easy to work with. Like the mountains where I live and the ocean where I play, it demands respect.  This clay refuses many techniques that are staples in the potter’s art. Many forms are simply denied. We collaborate and the clay emphatically weighs in on certain ideas. I hope that this work embodies a subtle beauty that will unveil itself with time and use. In the flow of history, ceramic art records human life for eons to all who speak the language of clay. You are witness to a humbling snapshot of one view of one life in one place.

Sam Clarkson

Mountain Home by Sam Clarkson

“Mountain Home”