About Our Team
Sarah Steininger Leroux (Owner, Creative Director) (she/her): Saltstone Ceramics was founded by Sarah in a converted garage in 2015. Sarah has a bachelor’s of arts degree in ceramics and sculpture from Goshen College in Goshen, Indiana, and a masters of fine arts degree in organizational leadership from Seattle University in Seattle, Washington. Sarah has a varied background in art and nonprofit work – working in two production ceramic studios, as an art center teacher, starting a small clothing design company, collaborating on a small arts fundraising organization, and working as a manager and director at several Seattle-area nonprofits for over fifteen years.
Steve Leroux (Co-owner, Operations) (he/him): Steve has a background in furniture design, software engineering, and entrepreneurship. Steve can occasionally be seen working in the gallery, but mostly you’ll find him behind the scenes, managing the website and running our annual Mug Madness tournament.
Coco Spadoni (Instructor, Program Manager) (they/them): Coco is constantly dreaming of shapes and how to teach clay in ways that are friendly and approachable. Their current style gives equal love to hand-building and the wheel. Most days you will find them in gray coveralls guiding the clay on the wheel. They work at Saltstone Ceramics as lead educator, teaching private lessons and workshops. Outside of work they consume teen drama shows, find any excuse to eat take out, and nourish their creative spirit.
Jude Mortensen (Instructor, Studio Technician) (they/them): Jude is a 3d artist that centers their work around the concept of "comfort within discomfort". Coming from a latinx family and being a queer person they have spent time searching for security and contentment in an otherwise messy environment, and so they try to bring out the same energy through their teaching and through their work. Along with ceramics, Jude works in mixed media using metals, paper, and plaster along side clay. Other themes you can find in their work often focus on mental health and neurodivergence and the way comfort and discomfort so heavily intersect. Outside of work you can find them spoiling their cat and making different coffee recipes they find online.
Liz Leong (Gallery Rep) (she/her): Liz is living her dream of working in an artistic space and spending time on creative projects. She loves illustrations and painting but ceramics captured her heart with its slow and tactile process. Liz focuses on hand building and she’s currently playing with textures, patterns and all things round. In the studio, her goal is to maintain a clean and welcoming space, outside of the studio you can find her skating, cooking tasty meals or taking walks around town.
Sam Schauer (Gallery Rep/Studio Tech) (she/her): Sam was born and raised in WA, but recently relocated to Seattle after studying at Boise State. She holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering and is finishing an MS as well, and is currently transitioning her focus to creative endeavors that bring joy. While still a ceramic newbie, she's very excited to learn from her coworkers as she finds her own artistic style. Outside of work, Sam is most likely binge-watching Netflix or exploring new coffee shops.
Lily Gray (Instructor) (she/her/they/them): Lily grew up in Eastern Washington, in a mixed culture family, whose backyard was sagebrush and a nuclear research facility. As first generation Hong Kong Chinese American, her work is an exploration of multiculturalism, diaspora, and fluidity of identity. She has over 8 years of professional teaching experience in ceramics and glass, privately and in studios, as well as managing a glass studio. This spring, she received her BA in Studio Art from Western Washington University. As a practicing artist, she has exhibited in group shows across the states at Applied Contemporary, locally, and student exhibitions.