Redclay Pottery Co.: A Mother and Father Support Their Daughter’s Passion for Ceramics

Rivers Redclay inspired her father and her family to take an interest in her newfound passion: ceramics.

The Redclays are a family of seven, and each one possesses special talents. There are musicians, fine artists, painters, writers, poets and potters. Mother and Father, Brianna and Jeremiah, and their five children have always created and crafted as a family, and, one day as their daughter Rivers took an interest in ceramics, the artistic focus shifted, and, as moms and dads do, they supported Rivers and worked alongside her.

Jeremiah Redclay grew up in a family of artists. As he grew, his passions ebbed and flowed, from illustration, to fine art, to construction. Jeremiah is a well-rounded artist with diverse experience, and, with his wife Brianna’s eye and attention to detail, they’ve made their living doing construction on museums, amusement parks, creating movie backgrounds, fine art, and now, ceramics.

“It’s really unique for these kids to be around this. It’s kind of like osmosis. It’s just in their blood. It’s a really unique group and I’m really blessed to have this family. We have a lot of fun,” said Jeremiah.

The Redclays each have their own medium, but their daughter Rivers found hers in clay, and from the start, always had her parents’ support.

Three sets of hands touch every Redclay Pottery piece: Rivers’, Jeremiah’s and Briana’s.

“I always supported anything she wanted to do. My wife as well. Once she started diving into the whole ceramics world, it caught my attention because she started working and doing things that were really beautiful, and I watched her, and I watched. She got the same sort of pleasure with ceramics as I did with artwork,” said Jeremiah. “So, my daughter started doing ceramics and I thought, ‘Wow, what an amazing thing,’ so I started doing ceramics, and I got totally into it with her. Suddenly all of my energy went to ceramics.”

The Redclay Family often creates together, so when Rivers took an interest in ceramics, the whole family took an interest in ceramics.

Jeremiah and Rivers make all of the pieces, each meticulously crafted to look like a well-loved dish, with three sets of hands touching each one. Jeremiah and Rivers each have their own special projects, Rivers most recently completing a one-of-a-kind line of dishes for a sushi chef. Once fired, mom comes in and details each piece—sanding edges, scanning for smudges, imperfections and blemishes.

 “Every single piece is hand-touched, patinaed, pressed, I go over everything. I sand them up. I scratch them up. I redo them. I push them forward. I pull them back. Every piece I do is an art piece, and they’re all actually very personal pieces. When I look at one, I know each one of those pieces personally. For me, that’s the beauty of it. To sit there and actually handcraft something with my own creativity and my whole family’s creativity behind it,” said Jeremiah.

Most of their pieces are simplistic, yet multi-functional. Typically reflecting the tones found in a cloudy California day—blues, grays, white and black—their pieces compliment any room, any home, any table, and are handmade locally with recycled clay and non-toxic glazes.

The Redclay’s worked hard to achieve the vintage, weathered, patinaed look they wanted for their pieces.

“I wanted really simple, really rustic, but really beautiful, patinaed, weathered-looking pieces that looked like they were heirlooms, that looked like they’d been passed down for generations. So, anything I did had to really look like it’s been around for a while,” said Jeremiah.

“The pieces are all meant to work with one another,” added Brianna. “The color pallet is all in the same tones my husband paints in and has always painted in. The platters are so beautiful on the bottom, not just the top, so we designed them in a way that you can turn the bigger platters over and set a smaller platter of top like a slight pedestal look. We really put function in mind with everything we make. Multipurpose, multi-use and it’s just art for the people.”

Redclay Pottery plates may also be used as pedestals for other dishes when turned upside down.

The Redclays hope to inspire a newfound appreciation for local, handmade goods. They have been involved with local artist movements, but ultimately strive to make people fall in love with handmade, reusable goods, goods made with love and intention by their family.

“It’s so cool when you go into your cupboard and you see these beautiful pieces that you can have forever, they’re reusable, you can beat them up, whatever happens to them, they get chipped, they fall over, they get a little crack in them, or whatever it is, it adds to the beauty of what they are. That’s roughly what got us to where we are now,” said Jeremiah.

Rivers is now 18 and will attend Swarthmore College where she’ll pursue her passion for ceramics. Although on the other side of the country, Rivers and her father will continue to create for the love of the craft and the connection they shared with it and each other.

Rivers and her father Jeremiah developed a mutual love and passion for ceramics that they now share from opposite sides of the country.