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Jesusa U Dougherty

What clay body do you use?

" Dark stoneware and earthenware "

Primary forming method?

" Mostly slab handbuilding and occasional wheel throwing"

Primary firing temperature?

"Cone 10 reduction and Cone 5 "

Favorite surface treatment?

"My favorite surface treatment is adding texture to the pot, then adding white or colored slip to allow for some of the dark clay body to peek through the slip. This allows the added benefit of a brighter backdrop for my paintings or slip transfer images. Sometimes I will sgraffito for additional layers for depth."

Favorite Tools?

" I love making and using my own handmade textured rollers and stamps from clay. I’ve always had an affinity for custom work and creating ceramicware with marks that are uniquely my own. This gives me the opportunity to add layers of dimension beneath the painted surface. My favorite non-homemade tools are the Kemper wire stylus tool used for sgraffito and the pony roller."

Describe your studio environment.

"I take classes at Foelber Gallery and Pottery Studio which allows me the access of a full studio, including a shared space with Alison Miller, a potter friend in my neighborhood. My home studio environment is whatever space I can find without being too messy. This has great limitations. I’m dreaming about how I can make a studio space in my garage."

How/Where do you market and sell your artwork?

"I don’t actively sell my work. I’ve participated in two Bayou City Clay Crawls in the past, participated in Foelber’s Backyard sale, and hosted a collaborative Pop-Up sale with potter friends. Currently I have work for sale online with Ollie Shop, which is a collective of artists’ work and vintage goods in the Houston area. I may get my website back up and running in the near future which might help promote my work."

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

"Inspiration sparks my creativity and motivation to make.  Inspiration comes from looking at nature, watercolor paintings, textiles and patterns, and other artists’ work. I don’t have an art background nor possess classical painting or drawing skills, but I think having patience and doing things repetitiously, is my mantra to getting where I need to be in my work.  I’m not fussy about crooked or meandering lines, imprecise scratches or coloring outside the boundaries. Working with clay means I can make something with more permanence, make my marks and then hopefully the object can inherit a joyful life, giving meaning and history. Clay has the unique ability to be functional and can transcend our own passage in time. "              

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

      "I have a full-time job running a business that is unrelated to clay which doesn’t leave me with much creative time.  In 1997, I took a Leisure Learning class with Foelber Gallery and Pottery Studio. This was my first introduction to clay. I learned to throw on the wheel making heavy, sometimes awkward pots but always beautiful glazes. A few years ago, Alison decided to open her studio, giving me the opportunity to further develop my skills. This arrangement was another avenue to share ideas that eventually accelerated my growth as a potter. She shared her knowledge about mid and low fire clays which made the material less intimidating and more accessible. I started to handbuild the “Birdie Boone” mug by the dozens, learned to fire my own pieces, mix my own glazes, experiment with making my own slip, and work with the material in its various stages. Taking a workshop with Naomi Clement, and meeting other clay artists has inspired my work and sparked new challenges. In 2019 when I participated in my first Bayou City Clay Crawl, I finally realized that I had come to my own. This was the first time my work was presented publicly. It was serendipitous that John Foelber and Judy Adams (my mentors) showed my work at their gallery."

      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’m still quite new to clay and I don’t consider myself as an established maker. I do however, love to talk about clay, share and exchange the ideas and processes and all of the tricks and shortcuts to anyone who wants to listen. Sharing my knowledge is rewarding when I see it in someone else’s work."

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

          When I was in architecture school, my professor told me, “Make your hobby your profession and your profession your hobby.” At the time this seemed like such a clichĂ©. Looking back, taking his advice I would have been the owner of a vegetarian cafĂ© instead of an architect, but today, hands down it’s going to be clay. It’s hard to wiggle my way out of a respectable design community of architects and builders, which has been part of my fabric for all of my career. But this advice has never left me, so I suppose I should make good on it someday. "

          Website URL and other social media platforms:


          Instagram: @boaf.pottery_jes


          Jes emigrated to the United States from the Philippines by way of Chicago and then Houston. She graduated with a Bachelors of Architecture from the University of Houston. After practicing in her field for 10 years she decided working for a structural engineering firm might give her a more holistic perspective on designing structures more thoughtfully. Today, Jes and her husband own INSIGHT Structures, a small structural engineering firm in Houston, Texas. 

          Jes has been working with clay for 20+ years. Since 2018, her journey has accelerated and further advanced her skills. A member of Clay Houston since the summer of 2019, Jes aspires to dedicate more time for clay in order to develop her craft, attend more workshops, and hopefully become more engaged with the clay community.


            PO Box 667401
            Houston, TX 77266

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