Meet Ceramicist Amy Gordon and Learn how She Discovered Her Second Act
It’s pure serendipity.
Written byHadley Hall Meares
Portrait of Amy byMonica Orozco
Ceramics photos bySusan Vizvary
Nestled in her artist’s studio on her Spanish-style estate in Hidden Hills, the ceramist Amy Gordon throws vases, pots, match strikers and lamp bases in her signature, elegant-yet-earthy, mid-century style. Amy, shy and lovely, her toned arms streaked with clay, has only been potting for a few years. But already her work has drawn the attention and patronage of interior designers, local businesses like Maude Woods in Woodland Hills, and more than 20,000 Instagram followers who love to watch the videos she posts of her time at the potter’s wheel.
With her three children grown and out of the house, the Valley native, a former art director in the fashion world, was looking for a new creative outlet. “I had been wanting to try pottery for a long time,” Amy explains. It’s kind of a funny story. My dogs have a tendency to escape. So they got out one day and my neighbor called me and said, ‘I have your dogs; why don’t you come get them?’ I said, ‘Oh, OK.’ It turns out she had a full-blown pottery studio in her backyard—and she teaches classes! It’s two doors down!”
Amy began to study with the neighbor, Jacqueline Stanford, learning the patience and meditative skill it takes to be a ceramist. “I am not a patient person. I’m very impatient,” Amy laughs. “And that was my biggest problem—you know, one pot takes some time. You have to move slowly and methodically and think about your movements, and I was not in the beginning. And I still have moments where I just have to walk away. So sometimes I’m having a horrible day and nothing’s coming out, and then there’s days I come in here and everything is perfect!”
“In between there are so many things that can go wrong . . . So when a pot comes out and it’s good—it’s like a miracle!”
Her work, done in neutral, understated tones and often featuring intricate carvings, quickly developed a local following. She sells pieces through her website (agceramics.shop) and enjoys sharing her love of pottery on Instagram.
“I can’t believe how many people want to watch me throw!”
For Amy, it’s the meditative—almost mindless—process and utter lack of control that make being a ceramist so rewarding. “In between there are so many things that can go wrong,” she says. “It could crack. It could explode in the kiln. The glaze could just not come out right. So when a pot comes out and it’s good—it’s like a miracle!”
Amy says that discovering she is an artist has given her a new outlook on life. “It’s been a great outlet for me, a creative outlet. I was so in the parenting zone and it was just so not creative,” she explains. “It was so methodical in the way you had to just get through the day and do the same thing over and over. This morning, I sat down, and I started making what I thought was going to be a planter and it ended up being this really great vase. In the middle I decided to just change my mind! That’s the cool thing about this. You can do whatever you want, whenever and however you want, so there’s a lot of freedom.”