About Us

Liz Leong (Co-Owner, Director of Operations) (she/her): In true Sagittarius form, Liz has a degree in molecular biology, taught English in China for 2 years, and became a software engineer before absconding to pursue her dream of working in an artistic space. She first touched clay in college and returned to take classes at Saltstone Ceramics in 2021. Liz is an intuitive creator and is happy revisiting old ideas with new eyes. She’s currently playing with colorful clay, patterns and textures. Her work explores the celebration of femininity within her Chinese American identity. In the studio, her goal is to maintain a clean and gentle space. She is always scheming to make the studio run smoother. Outside of the studio, you can find Liz cooking tasty meals, hanging out with friends, reading books or staring at her pet shrimp.

 

Jude Mortensen (Co-Owner, Programs Director) (they/them): Jude is a 3D artist that centers their work around the concept of "comfort within discomfort". It can be so difficult to sit in discomfort and as humans who face heavy circumstances in our world, it isn't always an option. They try to teach resilience through their classes and through their work, as these are safe places to practice it as its somewhat separate from our real-world stressors. Jude has studied 3d Arts focusing in Ceramics and Plaster and has worked in 4 different pottery studios in California and Washington in the past 9 years. Other themes you can find in their work often focus on growing up in a Latinx household and the way comfort and discomfort so heavily intersect.


Sam Schauer (Co-Owner, Gallery Director) (she/her):  Sam is a Washington native who has made Seattle her home since early 2022. Having recently finished a master's degree in mechanical engineering, she made the career shift to ceramics to focus more on mental health and the things that bring her joy. She has dipped her toes into many artistic hobbies over the years, but ceramics has always held a special spot as it utilizes her engineering design interests with a creative twist. Sam is in charge of gallery shows and operations, and can be found at the front desk 3 days a week! Outside of the studio, she can be found bullet journaling, binge-watching shows, or hanging with her cat, Hank.
Tommy Schaefer (Instructor / Studio Assistant) (they/them): Tommy is a musician, dancer, and artist who is thrilled to be in the Seattle ceramics world after years of working in the ceramics lab at Ohio State University. They love novelty and functionality in ceramics, and love converting ideas from all other facets of life into ceramics projects. Tommy’s ceramic art is heavily influenced by their experience working on farms, in communes, and living in forests around the world. They want their ceramics to be usable and delightful. Outside of work, they love board games, rock climbing, drinking tea, and trying to learn new musical instruments.
Lily Gray (Instructor) (she//they): 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.


Alison Kan Grevstad (Instructor) (she/her): Alison is an active member of the Seattle arts community as a practicing ceramic and visual artist. She has shown her work in gallery shows in Seattle and Arizona. Deeply influenced by nature, her art and design ethic give voice to underrepresented populations with a focus on cultural and environmental awareness.

Derek Kramer (Instructor) (he/him): My name is Derek Kramer and I grew up most of my life in small town Texas but have been living in Seattle for the past 2 and a half years. I fell in love with ceramics through art classes in Junior high and was fortunate enough to learn wheel throwing while in college. I have a professional background in finance and work in strategy/operations for a mental healthcare company. Outside of work I enjoy skiing, playing sports with friends, and the occasional friendly poker/boardgame night.


Jem Tong (Instructor/Studio Assistant) (they/them):  Hi! My name is Jem Tong. Pottery is my home medium but I enjoy dabbling in just about everything else. My personal work is mainly in clay instruments and moving, dynamic carvings. I have taught since 2022 in CA and WA, and been touching clay since 2014: I love sharing the grounding nature of shaping things with your own hands and meeting so many cool people that pottery attracts.
 

 


Hanako O'Leary (Instructor) (She/Her) Hanako O’Leary is a craft based sculptor and installation artist. She was born and raised by her Japanese mother and American father in the American Midwest. She grew up speaking Japanese at home, but English in school and everywhere else. Until Hanako turned 18, every year, for 2 months during the summer, her mother Sumiko brought her and her siblings back to their maternal home in the Seto Inlet Sea of Japan. This deeply influenced her spiritual beliefs, artistic voice, and feminine ideals.
Hanako looks to Japanese folk traditions of the Setonaikai Islands as a basis for her artwork. Through handmade objects, installations, and storytelling, Hanako explores this relationship with her matriarchal lineage and the complexities of feminine love, sexuality, and power. 

 

Ryana Lawson Instructor (She/Her) Ryana Lawson is a ceramic artist whose practice centers on handbuilt objects of existential curiosity and whimsy. Each piece is adorned in the flora and fauna from her dreams in a subtle narrative applying magic to the mundane.

Ryana currently resides in Seattle, WA. She recently completed an Artist in Residence at Pottery Northwest from 2023-2019. Ryana received her MFA from Pennsylvania State University in 2019. In 2017, she was an Artist in Residence at Flower City Arts back in Rochester, and received a post-baccalaureate education from the University of Colorado Boulder in 2016. She graduated with a BFA from The New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University in 2015. She has exhibited her work nationally.