Sheldon Ceramics: Looking to History for Inspiration

Peter Sheldon of Sheldon Ceramics

Founded and run by ceramicist Peter Sheldon, Sheldon Ceramics is a ceramics studio located in downtown Los Angeles just off the LA River. 

Unlike many studios that purchase pre-mixed glaze materials, Sheldon Ceramics formulates their own glazes by hand, exhaustively measuring out discrete ingredients to the gram in multifarious combinations until they achieve just the color they've imagined. Sheldon Ceramics glazes reflect a palette that references the organic, serene, and simple. The colors tend to draw in light rather than reflect it and are crafted such that, as their pottery ages, it does so with timeless grace, since it is designed to last a lifetime.

My Trove Box caught up with Peter Sheldon as he was winding down from his travels in Mexico.

Peter, some significant locales have informed your work: Vermont, Montana, New Zealand, and you've now settled into a studio in DTLA. How do these locations translate in your design?

I think we are working to create pieces that work in a variety of spaces. Our work is simple and clean, allowing it to fit in with a variety of design aesthetics. The work should feel at home in Vermont, Downtown LA, the desert, etc.

Tell us about your journey and how it has lead you to where you are today.

I got into ceramics in high school. I learned to throw on the wheel and just loved the whole thing – the material, the kilns, the process. After college I worked in a studio in northwestern Montana, and then a residency in New Zealand before moving to Los Angeles in 2012. 

Each place has its own aesthetic, materiality, and sense of place. It’s the accumulation of these experiences that informs the work we are making now.

What’s your typical day like at the studio?

What I love about making pottery is that I usually do lots of different things in a day, like throwing, trimming, glazing, and loading kilns. Each step comes with its own set of skills and challenges. What has always attracted me to ceramics is the wide breadth of exploration. For example, we formulate our glazes in the studio, a process that involves research, chemistry, geology, and aesthetic considerations. It’s the combination of the scientific and the artistic that has always attracted me to ceramics. There is space for deep exploration in both fields.