Birdie Boone

In last year’s Simple Cup Show at Kobo, Birdie Boone’s contributions sold quickly and generated inquiries from admirers. Starting Saturday June 21, Kobo at Higo will show her work alongside fellow New Mexico potter Betsy Williams.

mama bears

Birdie Boone is a ceramic artist with a particular interest in personal identity, food, and modern lifestyles. Known for her minimalist handbuilt tableware and atypical glaze colors, and declared her intent to be a potter at the age of 6. Birdie grew up in the slow culture of southwestern Virginia and the fast culture of San Francisco, but currently lives and works in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

cleaning up berry bowls

1. If you could only use 3 words to describe your work, what would they be?
soft, intimate, minimal

bowl stacks 8x10

2. You are known for using atypical glaze colors. Could you tell us a little more?
“Color, like emotion, is subjective, complex and mutable.” – Carole Crewes, author of Clay Culture: Plasters, Paints and Preservation

Johannes Itten, who developed and taught the first color course at the Bauhaus, thought of colors as ‘primordial ideas’. I think of thoughtful combinations of form and color as the most persuasive means of accessing a user’s senses. These collaborate to create a complex visual depth replete with connotations. This sense-full ideology requires only that the user be open to its possibilities. Thus, my pots are not only useful objects, they are also subjects that have the ability to affect their users’ sensibilities and to act upon the domestic spaces they occupy.

neighborhood-soft sky

3. How does living in New Mexico impact your work?
The most influential thing about living in New Mexico has been the skies, especially at sunset. The colors I see in the sky tend to be directly absorbed into my color palettes, almost without thought. I think it’s also worth noting that New Mexico’s relative lack of water has influenced me in a surprising way: for the past couple of years, I have had a definitive crush on water. Both sky and water are ‘complex and mutable’ and thus perfect subjects for me to investigate.

dinner plate

4. Do you use your own ceramics at home? Other artists’ work you enjoy using?
I do use my own work at home. Most often, we use my square dinner plates, but they are all seconds! I have a lot of pots made by other ceramists and I love them all, but currently, I reach most often for a Matt Repsher or an Eric Jensen cup.

Birdie Boone’s ceramics will be on display at Kobo at Higo alongside the work of Betsy Williams from Saturday June 21 – Sunday July 13.

Learn more about Birdie Boone here: Birdie Boone Ceramics | Facebook

Betsy Williams

This month Kobo at Higo has the pleasure of featuring two ceramic artists from New Mexico, Betsy Williams and Birdie Boone. 

Image by Robert Eckert

A few years after graduating college, potter Betsy Williams moved to New York on a whim and was trained as a money market trader at a Japanese bank. During her 5 years there, her Japanese co-workers introduced her to the incredible world of Japanese culture, especially ceramics, and ultimately Betsy left her job with the bank to apprentice with ceramist Yutaka Ohashi of Karatsu, Japan. After 4½ years of intensive training, Betsy returned to New Mexico to build her own adobe house and studio. She has been a professional potter for 13 years.

the kiln

1) You have a background in Russian literature, and discovered Japanese ceramics through coworkers at a bank. Did your obsession with Japanese ceramics take you by surprise?

Yes – it completely knocked me off my feet.  I had liked my job and my co-workers, but on a deeper level, I had so many questions about life and felt unsatisfied with mine.  When I first visited the Metropolitan Museum with a co-worker and stood before this one particular piece – a slightly asymmetrical celadon vase from Korea – something just clicked.  I started to read books about ceramics, and to look at ceramics.  I looked and looked and looked,  especially at the old pieces, from the 16th and 17th centuries.  Then the same co-worker called a little Japanese pottery studio near FIT in Manhattan, and asked on my behalf if I could join. I started going there after work, and on Saturdays.  They had an excellent collection of books there, each dedicated to a particular historical style of Japanese ceramics.  It was then that I began to hatch my plan of moving to Japan…

cupism 9

2) If you could only use 3 words to describe your work, what would they be?
1.  composed
2.  mysterious
3.  graphic



3) How does living in New Mexico impact your work?
The quiet is the main thing.  The birds, trees, bugs, the clarity of light and shadow, the air, the sky, the being able to see far, the million shades of green, the seasons.


tiny plates in progress

4) Do you use your own ceramics at home? Other artists’ work you enjoy using?
Oh yes – our cabinets are filled – but mostly with extras from orders or things with some flaw here or there that I like enough to use, but that don’t quite make the cut. I have a piece of Birdie’s that I use often.  A few Rebecca Wood plates.  Samuel Johnson cups. A variety of pieces from Japan.

Betsy Williams’s ceramics will be on display at Kobo at Higo alongside the work of Birdie Boone from Saturday June 21 – Sunday July 13.

Learn more about Betsy Williams here: enbi studio | Facebook