Jon Almeda likes extremes. “I used to throw massive pieces,” says the ceramic artist. Until a little book called Creative Ceramic Miniatures downsized his approach. Ever since, the self-taught artist has created diminutive versions of full-size ceramic bowls and vases. “Throwing small allows me to focus on the shape and form of a piece. It’s very meditative,” he says. To date, Almeda’s smallest ceramic is a 1/4-inch-scale working teapot complete with spout, handle and lid. While the creative process is the same, the tools of the trade sometimes differ—think bobby pins and razor blades. In addition to using raku, an ancient Japanese firing technique Almeda calls “pure magic,” he also makes crackle-glazed mini masterpieces. When not exhibiting at shows throughout the country, the Tacoma resident heads to Hawaii, where he spends three months a year. “I’m forever inspired by my surroundings,” he says, “from the dark waters and tall evergreens of the Pacific Northwest to the luscious flora and textures of the sea in Hawaii.” Sometimes it’s the little things in life that make the biggest impact.
LX: Current project:
JA: I’m using a combination of high-fired porcelain and black clay for my latest Reef series. The pieces are first thrown on the potter’s wheel, and then pierced, altered and textured on the outer surface to mimic the beauty of coral and lava rock.
LX: Favorite hotel:
JA: Hawaii’s St. Regis Princeville Resort is such a pretty place to stay or have a sunset dinner. And for a getaway closer to home, I love the Alderbrook Resort & Spa on Hood Canal.
LX: Greatest influence:
JA: Paul Soldner has always been an inspiration for me. He was a true innovator and is credited with developing American raku.
LX: I’m reading:
JA: Daily Rituals: How Artists Work, by Mason Currey. It describes the daily routines of over 150 creative people—composers, playwrights, painters—from Mozart to Ernest Hemingway to Henri Matisse and Chuck Close. They span genres, eras and media, but what they all have in common is that they each had a unique daily ritual that helped them produce their work.