Susan Dienelt

My pots are about form, color, texture and function. My Bauhaus training, “form follows function,” has never been far from me. But, creating beauty in my surroundings has been a driving force in my life. Anyone who knows me also knows that I have always loved food and all that goes with it: the preparation, colors, shapes and textures, as well as the taste. My fascination with food grew into a fascination with the dishes and vessels in which it is prepared and served. Making pots, like making and eating food, is pleasing to the senses. I love the whole process, from the soft, wet earthiness of the clay that I guide into a form, to choosing slips and glazes and implementing a surface design, to the heat and roar of the kiln’s fire. And, I relish using the final product in the experience of food and sharing that experience with others.

I live and work outside Sperryville in the beautiful Northern Piedmont of Virginia. There I have my studio and gas-fired, salt kiln where I make high-fired stoneware, which is dishwasher, microwave and oven safe. The firing process takes about 24 hours during which the kiln temperature reaches approximately 2400° F. Introducing salt into the kiln toward the end of the firing, near peak temperature, creates an atmosphere in which the salt and the clay interact. During this interaction a patina is formed that is unique to each pot, so that no two are exactly alike.

  • Full-time potter at her own studio Juba Mountain Pottery in Sperryville, since 2006
  • MSc in Visual Design at the Institute of Design, Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago  1972
  • Graphic and interior designer at various studios and independently, Paris, France and Washington, DC  1973 to 1997
  • Jill Hinckley Studio  2000 to 2006
  • Hands-on pottery workshops with Mark Shapiro, Kevin Crowe, Randy Johnston, Linda Christianson, Phil Rogers
  • Crew member at Tye River Pottery for Kevin Crowe’s three chambered, naborigama-anagama kiln  2003-2008
  • Built gas-fired salt kiln at Juba Mountain Pottery  2007
  • Featured on Rappahannock Artists Studio and Gallery Tour since 2008
  • Artisans Market at Washington, VA Christmas program since 2008
  • Pottery shown at Terasol Gallery in Washington, DC  2008-2010
  • Berry Bowls featured in The Piedmont Virginian magazine Spring 2010
  • Pottery shown at Narmada Winery, Amissville, VA and Gallery 251 in Warrenton, VA  2010
  • Show at Warehouse Art Gallery in Luray, VA  2010-2011
  • Pottery shown at Sara Schneidman Gallery in Culpeper, VA since 2010
  • Member of Rappahannock Hospitality and Visitors Association, represented on website and map listing local businesses since 2010
  • Listed on Rappahannock Association for the Arts and Community (RAAC) website as local artist since 2011
  • Juried professional artisan, Artisans Center of Virginia, since 2011
  • Participant in the Rappahannock Artisan Trail