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What clay body do you use?

"Right now it is Grande cone 10. But I’ve worked in all firing ranges and who knows what I’ll delve into next?"

    Primary forming method?

    "Throwing and then altering."

    Primary firing temperature?

    "Cone 10 reduction or Raku. However if an idea will work better at a different firing range or clay body I will use that."

    Favorite surface treatment?

    "Don’t make me choose! OK.. how about carving/sgrafitto. Recently I’ve been getting back to mishima using wax resist."

    Loading a kiln in the heat of summer. Straw hat a necessity

    Favorite Tools?

    "Being a potter, the best tool is “perfect clay”. The right consistency, plasticity, moisture content, etc. for the job. I think people new to the craft don’t take time to analyze, choose, and prepare their clay before beginning a project. My second favorite “tool” is patience. There are days in the studio when I forget where I placed that “tool”. ;-)"

    Describe your studio environment.

    "My personal studio is above our gallery in an old 1929 house. No AC. Gas space heater in the winter. Never completely clean as I run from one job duty to the next. Filled with found objects, old works, sketchbooks of ideas. It’s my private sanctuary.

    I also have the luxury of working in our classroom studio that has AC and lots of wheels I can take out at a time when classes are not in session."

    How/Where do you market and sell your artwork?

    "Mainly through our gallery: Foelber Pottery. Years ago we did art festivals and consignments to various stores. After having children, we couldn’t be on the road as much, so we focused on our gallery. Even though we have been in business since 1979, we still must keep current with branding, PR, social media, etc. Currently we are exploring online selling of smaller items through our website."

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

    "I am drawn to good interior design and architectural elements. I strive to create work that will add interest to an interior, be it a private home or a public space. Even with my functional vessels I want the finished piece to work as a sculptural form that doesn’t necessarily scream to be filled with flowers. I feel driven to work in clay because it is the best medium I have found to express the design ideas I have in my head. Also I just LOVE the whole darn process: from wedging all the way to unloading kilns."

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

      "I took my first pottery class in 1979 while working on an Art Education degree. I fell in love with the entire process. After floundering around a bit (my parents weren’t too happy that I just wanted to be a potter) I ended up with a dual degree in Art Ed and BFA/Ceramics in 1984. This served me well when I moved to Houston and was able to support myself by teaching in various schools while growing in my clay career.

      After about 7 years of teaching in the schools I was convinced by my husband and fellow potter, John Foelber, to take a leap of faith and become a full time ceramic artist. Remember, this meant no health insurance, no retirement benefits, no steady income, nada. That was around 1992. We hustled for years, taking every imaginable commission, hosting pottery team-building events, birthday parties, teaching adult and children classes and running the gallery. I am finally at a point in my career where I am dialing back on some responsibilities so I can again focus on my own creative clay work."

      How have you have taken your experience as a well-established maker in the field and passed that knowledge along to other artists?
        "The biggest way I do this is through the pottery classes we teach at our studio. As our students become more advanced, I am happy to help (push?!)  those who are ready to take the step to set up a home studio, find a venue to sell work, etc. When people contact me via email or visit the gallery I gladly take time to help them with technical questions, networking, and resources in the area (ClayHouston!)."

        Judy and John - Raku firing during Xmas party

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

          “Make mistakes…it’s only mud.” Truly, this isn’t brain surgery. No one is going to die if you mess up. Just keep exploring and trying. Another great piece of advice was from my first ceramic teacher, Bob Shay, at Ohio State University. He equated working in clay to riding a horse. One must work with the animal; one can’t force it. It has its own personality and quirks. This is very true for clay. One must be aware of the materials every step of the way. Focus. Patience. Open to new ideas. There’s nothing more thrilling than taming the beast and having a successful ride." 

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            BFA /Ceramics 1984 from Bowling Green State University/Ohio

             BS Art Ed 1984 from BGSU

            Art teacher 1985-1992. Various grades/school from K-12.

            Creator and Director of Extended Day School Program at St. Francis de Sales elementary school. 1986-1990.

            Co-owner of Foelber Pottery Gallery & Studio. 1987-present.


              PO Box 667401
              Houston, TX 77266

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