Lee Onstott

Micaceous clay

Micaceous clay pot:
by Lee Onstott
Micaceous clay pot:
by Lee Onstott
Micaceous clay pots:
by Lee Onstott
Micaceous clay pots:
by Lee Onstott
Micaceous clay pot:
by Lee Onstott
Wood firing:
by Lee Onstott
Wood-fired pots:
by Lee Onstott

Lee Onstott spent most of his career as a Civil Engineer working around the country in the highway industry. In 1991 he came to New Mexico as a highway engineer and has been here ever since. He is now retired but is still a licensed Civil Engineer in New Mexico and occasionally does some consulting work.

In 2000 Lee took his first pottery course in wheel throwing at Santa Fe Clay with Andrew Sanders as his teacher. They have been friends ever since and are now partners at Baca Street Pottery. Lee has taken various pottery classes and tried different styles of pottery making since that first class in 2000. For the past three years; however, he has studied and worked exclusively with Micaceous Pottery.

Micaceous Pottery is a traditional style of pottery that utilizes clay with a very high content of mica. Mica is one of nature's best insulators allowing the pots to hold heat, but also absorb the thermal shock of being placed on a hot stovetop. The pots are made by the coil method and then wood fired. Micacous pottery has been utilized in various locations in the world for many centuries, and in the southwest for over eight hundred years.

Lee's interest in micaceous pottery comes from the "hands on" method by which the pottery is made and fired. The clay comes from Northern New Mexico and is dug and processed by hand. The pots are made from coils of clay that are smoothed and scraped to form the desired shape. The pots are pre- fired in an electric kiln and then wood fired in an open pit. The wood firing gives the unique colors and subtle tones characteristic of micaceous pottery. This process is slow and tedious, but results in functional pottery where every piece is "one of a kind". Lee particularly likes making pottery that can be used for cooking and then be left out to be viewed as a work of art.

Until recently, Lee worked both at his home studio and at the studio at Santa Fe Clay where he also worked a "monitor". In January 2011, he joined with Andrew Sanders to form Baca Street Pottery. He has now moved his studio to the Baca Street Pottery location at 730 Baca Street in Santa Fe. There he can now be found building and firing his micaceous pots.


Copyright © 2002-2012 Baca Street Pottery

Updated 05 April 2012
Contact Baca Street Pottery at bacastreetpottery@yahoo.com