About me

From Indianapolis, Indiana I moved to Louisville, Kentucky where I became interested in ceramics. While I worked at Louisville Stoneware, a pottery factory, I began attending Art School at the Louisville School of Art, a small private art institution. After graduating I set up a rustic studio on a couple of acres of land next to a pig farm. My studio was uphill (which is a good thing if you’re close to a pig farm) and only heated with wood. I had a small gas kiln and kick wheel. ¬†I made rustic hi-fire porcelain pots decorated with slips.

In November of 1980 I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to cruise down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers to New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. It was an incredible life altering journey.  Falling in love with the area, I later moved to Pass Christian, Mississippi. The studio situation was similar to what I had in Kentucky. Very Rustic. But an interest in the sea side environment gave me a direction for surface decoration. Patterns and brushstrokes applied with colored slips (wet clay) depicted coastal images in various ways across the surface of each form or vessel.

In 1986 I moved to New York City and began working in a studio on Mott Street which was not far from the fish markets in China Town. I continued to make my earthenware pots decorated with paper resist and colored slips and sold them around the country. I had always taught at various venues but it was during this time that I began to teach at the West Side YMCA in New York.

From the thrown earthenware pots I became interested in diversifying to decorated and functional maiolica forms. Painting became less controlled and much freer. Use of color is more exotic and forms are more complex.

Currently I’m still teaching at the West Side YMCA as I have for the past 20+ years. Some of my students have gone on to become career ceramicists and potters. I also am an Adjunct Professor at the City University Of New York at Kingsborough Community College and part time instructor at Earthworks Pottery and Brickhouse Ceramic Center. The opportunity to share with others the knowledge and skills of working with clay and what I have learned in the process gives me a balance to support both teaching and creating my work.

Forms I have made recently are still maiolica, using painterly fish images and floral patterned backgrounds. Another new series is inspired by New Orleans, where I spent the night several lifetimes ago in a wooden boat tied between two barges.

4 Responses to About me

  1. Dear Janet, We have a wonderful collection of your work, all given to me by a dear friend Karen Cole. I am a fine artist as you will see by visiting my website and I celebrate your free spirit and color in your work. We would like to explore ordering a series of dinner plates, probably 4 at the beginning. We live in Water Mill, NY and come into NYC often. Is there any way I can see what you are currently working on? Thank you for enriching our lives, Judy and Phil Clifford

  2. Sharon Gross says:


    Enjoyed meeting you at the Yorkville Holiday Show this evening and being able to take home a small treasure of your pottery.


    Sharon Gross

  3. Anne Skillion says:

    Hi Janet, I didn’t get notice of your Yorkville show this year, but should have thought to go looking for it anyway. Sorry to have missed it. I’m loving the pieces you are showing on your website and am more eager than ever to add to my collection. Will there be any opportunities to see and/ or buy your work between now and next Christmas? Sorry I haven’t run into you at the Y, tho haven’t been there a lot just lately due to shoulder surgery. (Like everyone else, I vow to get there more often in the coming months.)

    Anyway, for the time being, let me convey once again my love and appreciation for your beautiful and interesting work.

  4. admin says:

    Hi Radha-
    My site has not been down for a while and I just saw this. Are you still looking for people for events at the Pinnacle Club?
    Janet Belden

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