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Lee Middleman

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About Lee Middleman

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  • Location
    Portola Valley, CA
  • Interests
    Highly textured or carved wheel-thrown vessels, wood firing, Asian art, mishima, sgraffito

About Me

I throw classic forms and use surface textures to give them energy and vitality, resulting in art that is both pleasing and alive. I seek to create patterns and textures that emphasize the organic interplay between order and randomness as found in Nature.


The tactile feel and visual look of surface textures are essential to my pieces. In many of my vessels, I create textures by deeply impressing patterns into thrown cylinders. Then, working from the inside only, I expand the cylinder to create the final form. This technique allows the pattern to evolve as the clay twists and expands. As the pattern adjusts to the shape and function of the vessel, it becomes reflective of Nature’s adaptation to form.


My glazing process enhances the natural aesthetic of the order and randomness. Thinly glazed surfaces highlight the macropatterns and reveal the stoneware clay’s micro-texture created during the expansion process. I often use multiple glazes to intensify the dynamic tension of the surface.


My goal is to pursue the interplay of shape, surface texture, ordered patterns, and random effects so that work is created that intrigues the eye and demands to be touched. Although my work is functional, it is often prized as decorative.

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