About Our Team:
Liz Leong (Co-Owner, Director of Operations) (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.
Jude Mortensen (Co-Owner, Programs Director) (they/he): Jude is a 3d artist that centers their work around the concept of "comfort within discomfort". As 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. 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 8 years. Other themes you can find in their work often focus on 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.
Sam Schauer (Co-Owner, Gallery Director) (she/her): Sam is a Washington native who moved to Seattle in 2022 after studying mechanical engineering for 5 years in Idaho. 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 excited to now be combining her personal and professional interests by taking on the challenge of being co-owner of Saltstone. Outside of the studio, she can be found bullet journaling, binge-watching shows, or exploring new coffee shops.
Sarah Steininger Leroux (Founder, Instructor) (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.
Tori Schaefer (Instructor / Studio Assistant) (they/she): Tori 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. Tori’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.
Coco Spadoni (Learning 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.
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.