Stephanie Intelisano Creates Simple, Well-Crafted Pottery

An Oakland potter and mold maker infuses her pottery with patience.


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Photo by Lance Yamamoto

Oakland potter and mold maker Stephanie Intelisano adorns her work, which is typically glazed bright and clean white, with fine black lines that sometimes resemble starbursts, pinwheels, or secret, sacred symbols. Though her work appears simple, her planters, mugs, bowls, and serving dishes—among many others—are crafted with care in her East Oakland studio.

A self-described hoarder of plants of all varieties, Intelisano was enchanted by the functional design process in college, where she took a number of classes on tableware design. By the end of her courses, she “felt like [she] finally had the foundational skills needed to create a ceramic piece from concept to saleable product.”

However, life doesn’t always take us where we expect to go, and Intelisano left pottery behind for four years, instead working a full-time job and traveling the Northeast, watercolor painting and drawing. Eventually, Intelisano wanted “to re-create the style [she] developed with watercolors but on ceramic.”

It took her about two years to finally make what she imagined. These days, she still draws out her designs first before making them real, and the end-to-end creation of any piece can take up to a month, or longer, as the process involves drawing, mold making, casting, firing, and glazing (twice each for the last steps).

Of her own work, her favorite is the “Ivy” mug, for its shape and size and the way it feels in her hands. She uses it for coffee, soup, and cereal.

Intelisano not only creates locally, but she also sources many of her supplies locally and semi-locally as well. Her materials usually come from Clay People in Richmond; the clay comes from Laguna in Southern California. She said she is deeply inspired by other artists, especially women, such as French artist Louise Bourgeois.

 

Learn more about Stephanie Intelisano and purchase her work at StephanieIntelisano.com. You can also often find her at many local markets and craft fairs. 

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