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JoAnne Sblendorio-Levy

What clay body do you use?

" Right now I am using Laguna B-Mix (cone 5/6) and Laguna Frost, (cone 5/6) for my colored clay work.  I learned on Longhorn White, an earthenware clay which I still love but rarely use now."

Primary forming method?

"I use both hand building and wheel forming.  Each has a purpose."

Primary firing temperature?

"Cone 5/6."

Favorite surface treatment?

"Texture --- by any means but usually carving, stamping, and …… did I mention carving?

Color ---- using clay that has been colored with Mason stains to form patterns (Nerikomi technique.) "

"BeJeweled Vase"

"Lava Bowl"

"African Energy 1"

"Line Line Line"

Glassell Kinder Morgan 2017

Favorite Tools?

"The little triangular metal trimming tool that comes in the 6 piece set."

Describe your studio environment.

"My “studio” is in my garage.  A couple of years ago we cleaned out the accumulated junk and had the interior finished.  We added a sink and an air conditioner. I have a wheel, small kiln and slab roller, plus shelving.  I also take classes at either the MFAH Glassell School or at the Jewish Community Center (JCC) on South Braeswood.  I like taking classes since it gives me an opportunity to see what others are doing and to learn from others.  Also the clay community is very ‘welcoming’; there is a comradery."

"Black n White"

"ArtDeco Vase"

"Nerikomi  Mango  Flower"

"Nerikomi Blue w/ Gold Swirl"

"Pod Invasion - They're Here"

How/Where do you market and sell your artwork?

"Usually at the MFAH Glassell Student Sale, the JCC Markets and private sales."

"Hare's Fur Bowl"

"Rain Forest"

What sparks your creativity? What drives you to work with clay?

"My creativity can be sparked by anything really – southwest landscapes, cityscapes, plants, a color, a shape, etc.  Forming something from clay is magical. The possibilities are endless. "               


"Jade Mini Sadness"

"Red Rock 2"

Did you come to ceramics from a different career? Tell us about your journey to a ceramics career.

      " Yes, I came to ceramics via a circuitous route.  I have degrees in geology and have worked in the oil industry almost my whole career.  During that time I’ve taken various courses in art history, drawing, painting, printing, pastels, 3D design, etc.  Eventually, I took a ceramics class; it resonated. I like working with clay.  So here I am!"

       "Nerikomi Orange Stripes"

      "Red Carved Bowls"

      How have you have taken your experience as a well-established maker in the field and passed that knowledge along to your other artists?

      " I’ve only been at this for six years, after my retirement, so I feel like I still have a lot to learn. I do have a background in teaching and like to share my knowledge with others. "

      "White Works Series 1"

      "African Energy 2"

      "White Works Series 3"

      "Red Rock  3"

      What’s the best advice you’ve been given by a fellow maker, mentor, or teacher?

        My advice to myself:  It’s only clay."

        "Winter...Not Houston"

        Glassell Kinder Morgan 2019

        "Red Rock 1"

        "White Works Series 2"

        "Nerikomi Pink Purple Plate"


        I have a Bachelors and a Masters degree in geology and moved to Houston, from the Northeast, for work in the oil industry.  I’ve been married for 48 years to the same guy (oh my!) We have a son who is an award-winning chef in the Houston area.  After retirement, I’ve focused on ceramics.  I’ve taken art and ceramics related courses at the Glassell School, Houston Community College, Rice U. and the Jewish Community Center.  The last two years I’ve been experimenting with colored clay and the nerikomi technique.  I’ve taken classes in this technique with Chris Campbell in Maplecrest, NY, Judith de Vries (a true master) in Amsterdam and an on-line course with Curtis Benzle.


          PO Box 667401
          Houston, TX 77266

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