Who We Are...
George Rodriguez and Deborah Schwartzkopf are a Seattle based couple working under the same roof. We make work, exhibit, teach and mentor in the ceramic community both locally in Washington and across the states. We bring our ephemeral thoughts into existence through researching, sketching, moving clay, and connecting with communities. Our creations are important for the way they encourage curiosity, discovery, and playfulness. We are allies in encouraging a vital arts community.
George Rodriguez, native of El Paso Texas, creates narratives often dealing with the figure, identity, and human experience. He finished his education with an MFA from the University of Washington in 2009. Since then he has been making his way as a Seattle based artist showing with Foster White Gallery and teaching ceramics across King County. The large scale of his work and the dramatic surface embellishment draw people into his stories with awe and excitement. His characters make people smile and enter into the story. In this way, questions are asked about who we are and how we relate.
Deborah Schwartzkopf, born and raised in Seattle, promotes attention to daily interaction with her pottery. In her home growing up, hand made objects held special value. Making food with and for family demonstrated consideration and love. She brings the often invisible, daily moments into clarity with thoughtfully made dishes for use. She received an MFA from Penn State in 2005. Deb sells locally at SAM (Seattle Art Museum Gift Shop) and across the country in a number of galleries. She works primarily as a potter, teaches at Seward Park Clay Studio and leads clay workshops nationally.
Full Dinnerware Sets as Incentives!
This kiln yard is an essential asset to our process. We need these kilns hooked up in order to get our clay fired and finished. In the cycle of ceramics, each piece is fired twice. The first firing makes it easier to glaze by changing the clay from being brittle to being more like stone. The second firing is hotter and melts the glaze, enhancing the surface and making the finished work more durable. Clay which is exposed to heat, losses its chemically bound water molecules and can no longer be broken down by water. Once this change has occurred it cannot be reversed. This is the slow process of making with clay.
Our process are important to our progress. George often builds large scale sculpture by coiling with thick slabs (as seen above). Deb combines wheel thrown and hand built sections. Check out the DVD trailer produced by Ceramic Arts Daily below to see her process.
We need YOUR help!
We have a home in Seattle where we have established our joint studios. We have the kilns, we have the wheels and we have amazing studios set up to work in. The next crucial step is putting the kiln yard in place!
Here are the essentials for the kiln yard...
- Bringing in 320amp electrical service to run the electric kilns
- Connecting the commcerial gas line to the car kiln
- Pouring a concrete slab to place everything on.
- Building a protective roof to ensure its safety.
We both work as full time artists. In supporting our project you will benefit our careers and impact our community. Can you imagine if George could make large-scale figures and not have to drive the fragile, unfired work to another facility to fire them. With the completion of this project Deb will have the space and ability to fire multiple kilns for her tableware settings. Having the kilns hooked up would enable us to teach classes at our studio, work larger scale, and fire more work with less energy expended. The permits and been researched, we have consulted with contractors and friends. We need your contributions to get our kiln yard firing!
How Kickstarter Works…
George and Deb have defined and researched a worthy plan and determined a monetary value approved by Kickstarter. After generous supporters pledge a dollar amount through Kickstarter, they are sent a gift in return ONLY when the project is funded successfully! This means the project monetary goal must be reached to be fruitful.
When a Kickstarter is does not reach the goal?
Be part of the creative process by hooking up the kiln yard for George and Deb! Should our project not meets its goal, none of the contributors' credit cards will be charged and the Kickstarter will remained unfunded. Your assistance at any level will add to the momentum of our project! Please take a look at the right sidebar and discover all we have to offer.
Incentives by GEORGE
We have amazing incentives to encourage your support! Handmade dishes, sculptures, prints, private ceramics lessons, & exciting kiln unloading events! (Not to mention our immense gratitude!) The many images on this page show the breadth of colors, textures and forms of our work. The incentives you will receive will vary due to the nature of making each piece by hand. Please take a look at the column to your right and browse the options through which you may contribute to our goal. Please visit each of our websites to see more work! AND watch our short clip at the beginning of this page.
Incentives by Deb
What is a Kiln?
We use kilns to make our work permanent in the world. Kilns enable the firing process to be contained and efficient. Without the firing process dry clay would turn right back into a pile when in contact with water. The sources we use for our kilns are electricity and natural gas. An electric kiln is basically a gloried toaster oven reaching temperatures of 2300F. A gas kiln achieves similar temperatures by combusting gas. Kilns come in all different shapes and sizes. There are some kilns that are loaded from the top and some loaded from the front. What makes a car kiln different is that it is built to allow the floor of the kiln to roll out of the main kiln body (usually on a track) for easier loading and unloading.
Where can ceramic pieces made at home be fired in Seattle?
Places such as Clay Art (of Tacoma) and Seattle Pottery Supply will charge a fee depending on size and temperature you wish to fire your ware to. You basically hand your work over at the door, pay and pick it up when it’s done.
What is Deb's favorite cookbook?
Smitten Kitchen and check out their blog!
Why does George ALWAYS roll up his pants up?
It's not because he's expecting a flood or because it rains so much in Seattle but he actually believes he looks cool. Its all about the style.
Where are amazing places in Seattle to take ceramics classes?
Take classes with Deb and George at their studio in Seattle AND all around King County... Deb just offered a "Photographing Your Work" seminar that went quite well! Seward Park Clay Studio , Moshier Community Art Center, Redmond Clay Studio, Pottery Northwest, Kirkland Arts Center are great options! Try your local community colleges as well! We have taught at many of them. Drop us an email should you have any questions!
How did George fire his large work until now?
George would build his large work in studio then load the fragile greenware into the truck bed secured with rachet straps and foam. He would then drive the sculpture (up to an hour away) to a University or College that was gracious enough to allow the orphan sculpture to be fired. The drive is always an bumpy, adrenaline rush even at 15 mph.
What is Clay?
AL203 2Si02 2H20 for the chemically minded folks... Which for the geology followers– the decomposition of Granite through the process of Kaolinization (transformation of various minerals including alumina and especially, mica and feldspars) creates clay. Clay is a mineral with a plate (small disc) like structure; it is these plates, (about 0.5 microns across) when lubricated with water, slide against each other to form the plastic mass we know as clay. 'Primaryclays are those found close to the area of Kaolinization and hence the purest (Kaolin or China Clays). Secondary clays are those moved by water away from the site of Kaolinization and get progressively more plastic and less pure (Ball Clays, Fire clays, Earthenware's and Marls).
Thank you for your support!
Risks and challenges
Our biggest challenge is not having the power needed to run our equipment safely and efficiently. Not having kilns at our studio limits our work flow significantly! Having multiple kilns hooked up gives a sense of ease as both Deb and George work full time to complete, often overlapping and conflicting deadlines. We need the kilns hooked up in order to grow creatively. A functioning kiln yard will facilitate our ability to reach out to the community with hands-on clay seminars in the studio and through an in-studio mentorship program. With an active kiln yard we will fire more work more efficiently! Help secure the future of inspired ceramics by George and Deb by choosing to support this project.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)