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The 8 Ball: Peter Sheldon of Sheldon Ceramics

Peter Sheldon | Sheldon Ceramics | Covet + Lou

Berry Colanders, Mixing Pour Bowls, and Farmhouse Pitchers. These are some of the simple, beautiful, and handmade ceramics from Sheldon Ceramics that we’ve welcomed to Covet + Lou. Meet Peter Sheldon, the man behind the studio.

How do you describe your ceramics?

Simple. Handmade.

How have you evolved as a ceramicist as Sheldon Ceramics has grown as a business?

I’ve always felt that the surest way to get better at making pottery is by making lots of pottery. Maybe it's the same as practicing an instrument. Some people will pick it up quickly, but it's something that you need to work at. We’ve built a fluency with our process, though it's something we’re always trying to improve and learn from.

It seems like places act as an inspiration (the Silver Lake collection and the Vermont collection as two examples) to your work. Can you talk about the significance of places in your work?

Sense of place has always been an important part of what we do. I grew up in Vermont and lived in Silverlake when I first moved to Los Angeles. I hope the forms speak to these places. I also want our work to feel comfortable in a variety of spaces.

Are you self-taught? Tell us about your journey to where you are now.

I got into pottery in high school. After college, I worked in a production studio in northeast Montana. That was a great experience, and it inspired our current production flow. It was so cool to see how much pottery just a few people could produce. I was making all the glazes and loading kilns, which provided invaluable learning opportunities. I spent a year in New Zealand, making pottery as a resident artist at the Driving Creek Potteries. All of these experiences relate back to an earlier answer-- the important part of the journey has been the opportunity to make lots of work.

Inspiration sources as of late?

I love looking at pottery books. On my table right now are a few-- one featuring the work of the artist Taizo Kuroda, another featuring historical pottery from South Carolina, and another describing Oaxacan pottery processes. Looking at books is such a great way to learn about pottery. Humans have been working with these materials for thousands of years, so there are endless places we can look to for inspiration.

Do you have a favorite form to create?

I love throwing our moon vases and bowls-- I think both forms really ask you to stretch the clay.

What is the most important thing you’ve learned about growing a business?

Work hard.

Please share a meal that you’ve been enjoying recently. One that we can enjoy in one of your ceramics?

I say go for some ice cream! Ice cream and sorbet look great in our dessert bowls. One of my favorite things is getting a photo from a friend of a meal in our pottery.