Jan Schachter

Plum Tree Pottery

"I'm a perfectionist (as much as the process allows) and am constantly in search of the perfect surface and ideal form, while striving to create pots that have life and vitality."

Jan Schachter works in a series, spending a day making vessels of one form (such as a casserole) in a variety of sizes and shapes. After three to four weeks, she has enough work to fill her gas kiln. She finishes her pots with glazes she's made herself. It takes her a week to glaze an entire kiln load.

Schachter spends time outside of the studio, too, making "folk pot pilgrimages" to Turkey, Laos, Guatemala, Zambia, and other faraway places that provide her with ideas, stories, and pots for her own collection—bringing her closer to that ideal form with the perfect surface.

Schachter graduated from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst with a BS in microbiology in 1963. She returned to clay part-time shortly after graduating and attended numerous classes at art centers in New York and New Jersey. She moved to California in 1978, and she has been a full-time potter ever since. Over the years, she has had pots in numerous national and international exhibitions and competitions, ranging from the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian to The Minneapolis Institute of Art.