An eye for ceramics

Customers from around the Foothills poured into the semi-annual ceramics sale at the Community Center of La Cañada Flintridge on Friday and Saturday to browse through ceramic trays, vases, bowls, mugs and plates that had been created by more than two-dozen artists.

Some ceramists made unexpected items. Christine Rose made large sculptural pieces that took on the form of French tulip blossoms, while Remy Jaffe fashioned spherical and cone-shaped maracas out of clay.

Some artists also made brooches, necklaces and candleholders, while others focused on fall home décor such as glazed jack-o-lanterns and witch’s heads.

Charlene Nomura, who has been working with ceramics for 35 years, showed her collection of hand-etched ceramic nightlights.

“I know one of the potters showing and I love student shows. I can always get beautiful things for not that much money. Everything is unique, and no one will have the same piece, everything is one-of-a-kind,” said Altadena resident Jane Warner.

The items varied in price from $5 for a small jewelry tray to a few hundred dollars for more refined vases. Most items were priced in the $20-$30 range.

The ceramics sale is a fundraiser for the center’s Ceramics Department for which 25- 30% of the proceeds will help buy extra kiln shelving and also will go toward a fund to buy a new kiln, said Community Center Ceramics Director Miriam Balcazar. Another sale is set to take place during the second week of December.

The Ceramics Department hosts classes in beginning, intermediate and advanced ceramics for children, teens and adults.

Ceramics students are taught a variety of styles and techniques in making pottery, such as using a wheel or sculpting them from hand. Classes are held in six-week sessions, meet once a week and are priced at $130 per session.

Many people attending the sale come to see a specific artist — or they attend annually because they expect to find high-quality pieces.

Helen and David Gilstrap of La Cañada have attended the ceramics sales religiously over the last few years. They’ve bought dinnerware, vases, bowls and coffee cups designed by Jaime Alvarez.

“We really enjoy the ceramics show twice a year,” said Helen Gilstrap. “We always stop at Jaime’s exhibit. We are huge fans. It makes us feel connected to the community, the art and the artists. We really love what we purchase here, they are signature pieces.”

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