Work by more than 100 Artisans inside new Carmel more

stoneware pottery
The Orchard Gallery of Fine Art, several Ohio galleries, art fairs
Kristy Jo Beber

“As a one-woman studio, I take my vision and attention to detail and apply it to a lump of moist clay…and all the way through the process. My designs are my own and are always evolving. I take pride in my craftsmanship, as I believe any full-time artist should.”

Design captivates Kristy Jo Beber, and the designs she uses make her stoneware pottery distinctive. It fascinates her followers.

It’s common to find playful swirls, dots and lines on her mostly decorative pieces. “I have developed a unique style of ‘drawing’ glazes onto my pots,” said Kristy Jo. “Even seasoned potters are often intrigued enough with my pieces to ask questions about my process. I’ve always been attracted to patterns.”

Most of her work begins on the potter’s wheel and often gets altered or carved; some pieces are assembled from multiple parts. They are fired once, glazed and then fired again at more than 2300 degrees, which gives them strength and durability.

Many potters would mark the day they make their first sale as one of the best in their life. For Kristy Jo, it was a day in November 2009 when her dream kiln was delivered.

“It was one of the most stressful, but most gratifying days of my clay career,” she recalled. I had to rent a forklift, hire a guy to drive it, and then watch as my new kiln struggled to get in the garage. All the weight made the wheels of the forklift spin in the gravel driveway. When it finally got past that, it barely fit under the garage door! I smile about it now, but it was a nerve-racking day. She works like a dream, though, so it was all worth it.”

Typically, Kristy Jo works on the wheel 6-8 weeks to throw and trim enough pieces to fill her kiln. Her bisque-fired pieces are then her blank canvases. “I first glaze the inside of each piece, and then the fun begins,” said Kristy Jo. “I use a grogged stoneware clay, which I leave partially exposed. The unglazed clay provides a backdrop for my designs, which consist of trailing and drawing with my select palette of glazes.”

This artisan attributes her works’ unique combination of form and surfaces to the great deal of experimentation she’s done with both. She uses stoneware clay, for instance, to create a variety of surfaces.

Pottery is far more than a job or pastime for Kristy Jo, who has a fine arts degree from Indiana University, where she planned to study photography. But the BFA program required courses in many media. “After getting on the potter’s wheel the first time, I was hooked,” said Kristy Jo. “Soon, I was spending all my extra hours in the ceramics studio instead of the darkroom. It wasn’t long before I decided to switch my focus to clay. I think it was meant to be.

“Working in clay provides a sort of therapy for me,” the Allen County artisan added. “I love the soft, tactile quality and the connectedness I feel when working with the medium.”