"That has to be the most aesthetic piece of work I've seen from you. It's beautiful. Congratulations! The textures, the colors, the "movement" in the way you swirl the textures around the pot... Excellent! "~ Paula Denman, Fine Artist
As a child, I had a deep fascination with clay. From the wet, sticky mud of San Francisco Bay, I made pinch pot vases, and then baked them hard in the sun. At 14 years old, while walking the halls of my high school during lunch period, I peered into the round window of the Ceramics Room and saw 10 wooden kick wheels. My innerself said, "You need to try THAT!" I went back another lunch time and the door was open. Chris Boyd (Sebastopol based potter) was teaching at the time and invited me in. And in I went , and never left as I discovered the most mesmerizing art form ever. I was hooked on the feel of clay in my hands that was delicious and soothing. The ability to create 3-dimensional forms out of the Earth, touched me deeply and awoke the artist within. Since then, I've never stopped in my quest to transform this earthy substance into something that is both functional and decorative.
My whole life I am been immersed in clay, and throwing since 1969.
My Feel for Clay
As clay revolves in my hands and my mind– becoming a vase, bowl or whatever shape my hands give to it and it gives to itSELF– I feel an intense bonding experience. The act of centering the clay is so in sync with nature and the Earth. I feel totally at one.
Every ceramic piece I create is a manifestation of its own deep Nature, a merging of the elements Earth, Water, Air, and Fire. Some of my bowls are covered on the outer side with assorted locally found clays that I've dug up and processed into shimmering slips. These clays have an incredible earthy, appearance. For contrast, I use glazes on the inside of the bowl to reflect the celestial galaxies. The glazes always surprise me with their seemingly endless range of color and depth, much like the endless nature of the Universe.
My work is made of commercially manufactured stoneware and porcelain clay. I am proud to use the following commercial underglazes and glazes that are non-toxic and food safe, Amaco, Mayco, Laguna, Coyote Clay Company, and am represented on their website in the Enduro and Fantasy glaze lines.
I glaze fire to Cone ,5/6 2160-2180ºF.
My clay slips are from clay that I have personally dug, i.e., Pacifica, where I once lived, and presently in Santa Rosa, Ca and cleaned and use on the exterior of my pieces for an interesting effect.
I took art and ceramics courses at College of San Mateo, Foothill College, City College of San Francisco, San Francisco State University, and Skyline College in San Bruno.
I was a member of Ruby's Clay Studio and Gallery in San Francisco for 20 years and during my tenure at Ruby’s, I was involved with Open Studios of San Francisco. At Ruby's, I was surrounded by an incredible artist community of professional potters, who gave me the best education of ceramics, in addition to the many workshops of invited guest potters to the studio.
Cori Couture, a once known potter for her exquisite Raku pottery, trained me in the art of throwing large pieces.
I was a tenured professor of English as a Second Language at City College of San Francisco for over 25 years.There I learned the patience to teach the world another communication system. It taught me, patience and reflection of how we all are interconnected on the planet.
My paternal grandfather, Charles Samuel aka, C. S. Hoffman, founded Golden Gate Iron Works, a structure steel fabricating business in 1906 and helped rebuild San Francisco after the 1906 Earthquake. Two magnificent works of art that Golden Gate Iron Works fabricated are visible today are: the ornamental iron works gates that are located at the San Francisco War Memorial Opera House, they are the gates with the gold tips and the ornamental iron work fence and the elaborate gates that surround San Francisco General Hospital on Potrero Street. My great Aunt Lena nee Hoffman, is the mother of the famous Joe Rosenthal, of whom shot the famous WWII photograph of the US Marines hoisting the flag at Iwo Jima.
Now that I am retired from teaching ESL, my true artistic dream has emerged. After 53 + years, of being immersed in "mud", I am on a wonderful adventure of creativity that just keeps expanding to realms that have no end. It's the Universe of Art, it just keeps going and going and I love working with the Earth Goddess.
San Francisco State University M.A.T.E.F.L. 1988
San Francisco State University B.A. (English) 1984
Association of Clay and Glass Artists of California
American Craft Council
Healdsburg Center for the Arts