South Carolina ceramic artist Maria White strives to create work that enhances a space and is useful in daily ritual.
The artist: Born in Las Vegas, White grew up in Summerville, SC, in a creative household. While both parents painted, her father was a graphic designer and her mother also designed and made clothing.
White discovered clay in high school and later focused on ceramics in college at Winthrop University. After graduating, she continued to focus on ceramics with scholarship and studio assistant opportunities at Penland School of Craft (NC) and Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Maine. She then went on to apprentice with sculptor and inventor, Michael Sherrill.
She began her professional ceramics career in Los Angeles, where she spent more than a decade creating work for chefs, interior designers and movie and TV sets.
The studio/company: Maria White Ceramics, started in Los Angeles in 2015. The artist now works at her home or out of an artists’ space in North Charleston.
The art & materials: Functional and decorative ceramics, primarily made of porcelain. She prefers using Aardvark’s Coleman porcelain and Highwater Clay’s Helios porcelain.
Works are mostly white and black with clear and matte glazes, though White often paints gold luster on edges or cup bottoms.
The process: Most pieces are made on the potter’s wheel and hand-carved. Others, like other vessels, are cast from translucent, porcelain slip and altered.
What’s popular: Translucent pieces in the Luminary collection ($60 to $140 each). Also cups and bowls ($45 to $200).
Other favorites: Shell-shaped dishes with golden edges ($60 each).
Fun, special or unusual requests:
- Create pieces for the set of the popular TV sitcom “Friends,” including a coffee mug for “Central Perk, a coffeehouse on the show and art for Ross’ apartment.
- Make wrap gifts (luminaries) for the creators of hit HBO series,
“Game of Thrones.”
Big break(s) or series of little breaks:
- Having her ceramic pod forms featured in the Robb Report, a luxury/lifestyle magazine, when she was first starting out.
- Commissioned to create luminaries for the Jar restaurant in Los Angeles. The commission led her to design a larger line of table-top luminaria and lighting.
Claim to fame: In 2019, founded the non-profit Mugs for Moms, which bring makers and mental health care professionals together to spread awareness and help moms suffering from perinatal mood disorders.
On the side: Independent filmmaker.
- Award of Excellence at the American Craft Council show, San Francisco.
- First Place at the American Museum of Ceramics Art (Pomona, CA).
- Audience Award for Best Short Documentary, Sundance Film Festival.
- Chosen to create a retrospective film about her mentor, Michael Sherrill, which screened at the Smithsonian.
- Asked to create a piece for the permanent collection for the Downtown Women’s Center in Los Angeles alongside other female ceramists.
- Created a funeral urn for her late aunt who always believed in White.
What’s new: Designing dinnerware and more lighting, including a chandelier.
- American Craft Council’s Atlanta/Southeast Craft Week.Online, Sept. 20-26. In person, Sept. 23-25, at Atlanta’s Buckhead Village. For details, craftcouncil.org/show/season/atlantasoutheast-craft-week
- A residency at the Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston in the spring of 2022.
Where to buy: mariawhite.com
Get social at:
- Instagram: @mariawhitestudio