BJS at work

Please give us a brief bio, where you are from and how you started in this field.
I grew up in La Mesa, just east of San Diego. As I was growing up, I was very athletic, Calif. State Springboard Diving Champion in 1960. So when I went to college, I majored in physical education and math at San Diego State College.  Transferred to U.C. Berkeley in 1962 majored in Philosophy and Math, finally getting my B.A. in Physical Ed. and Math. And, I always took art classes because I loved art so much.  Became a High School teacher in San Bruno in p.e. and math  for 9 years. I was always playing with some form of art as I grew up but never knew how to make a living at it.  Finally, a part-time p.e., part-time art person, came into our department. I asked her, “what kind of art”, she said pottery, I said, that I had always wanted to learn how to throw pottery.  She invited me up after school to show me how to throw.  So, I did, I quit teaching 2 years later to become a full-time potter.  Hallelujah!  It worked, I am still making a living at it.

A few years later, I returned to school, this time San Jose State University, to get my Masters of Fine Arts (MFA) degree.
Since then, I have expanded my work to include large ceramic wall works, painted murals, watercolors and many other works in pottery. I have collectors all over the place.  I have shown in the Smithsonian Craft Show.  I have painted murals as far as North Carolina, Illinois, Utah, and many other places.


When did you first discover your creative talents?
Creativity was always with me as I played in all sorts of mediums growing up.  I made posters, etc. for school events, classmates and teachers asked me to do the art.  I drew an ocean mural for my 5th grade teacher and had other classmates help fill in the blanks.  I was always, and still am, inspired by what I see in the world, particularly nature, shadows, colors and how they all interact.


What or who inspires you when it comes to your work?
Many people have inspired me, starting with my parents.  I will never forget laying on the lawn with my mom, looking at the clouds in the sky, and seeing shapes of animals.  My dad always let me play with wood, nails, whatever he was casting off as he added rooms onto the house.  He took me to hardware stores whenever he went, and I was inspired to make “stuff”.

Many of my teachers supported my creativity in so many ways.


Could you tell us about some of your work?
My work is diverse.  I paint, do clay, decorate.  Working in clay, led me to large wall works (recently created a 6′x6′ wall piece for El Camino Medical Center in Mountain View titled “Canyon Dreams”).  Large wall works led to painted murals as I worked more and more with Art Consultants.  But always, I love thrown pottery.  In Japan, I had an experience with a raven and a persimmon which has led me to a series of clay raven teapots and sculptures.


What inspires you to keep going and how do you keep yourself motivated?
I keep motivated, easily.  If I am in a difficult stage, I clean my studio, or, I take a painting class,that usually gets me working in my art.


How do you describe your style?
My style?  I have always been inspired by Asian aethetics.  So my style is direct, simple, readable work.  Often, just clay directs my style, the feel, the look, makes me go on in design. I have wondered if I was Japanese in another life, I feel such a connection, but, don’t want to copy.  I make it my own.

Share with us something funny that has happened to you recently.
Something funny happened last weekend when I was sitting in my studio, feeling kind of down :(

A big, long haired, orange cat walked in, laid down, and stayed for the day.  I love cats, missing my past orange cat, I was thrilled.  It brought happiness to my heart.  It made my day.


How did you bridge the gap of the business side of designing?
I bridged the gap of business and art by showing my work at art festivals, especially, where many art consultants, designers, galleries walk through. I became willing to sell the art that I make.


Describe yourself in 5 words.
5 words: Play, look, create, trust, continue


Any words of advice for aspiring designers/artists?
Advice: Follow your heart, pay attention, trust your intuition, begin, begin again.


What is your biggest pet peeve?
My biggest pet peeve is arrogance.  It stops the real creativity.


Any pets?
Pets? Right now, 2 cockatiels whose parents flew into my old studio over 25 years ago.  What a joy to give them a home.


What is it like being in the art community here in San Francisco?
I love being in the art community in SF, usually, although sometimes, it is overwhelming.


How did you get involved with Celebration of Craftswomen?
I became involved with Cele. of Crafts. shortly after it began at the Womens Bldg. when a friend invited me to do the show, then asked me to be on the committee.  It has been more than 28 years of participation one way or another.  I am grateful to be a part of supporting women artists.