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Meet Heidi Kreitchet of AMOCA Ceramics Studio in Pomona

Today we’d like to introduce you to Heidi Kreitchet.

“If you want to continue woodfiring, you either need to go to Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, AZ or Utah State University in Logan, Utah,” said Jim Lorio to Heidi Kreitchet in the studio at Front Range Community College in Westminster, Colorado. Little did she know, Lorio had predicted her future. In the summer of 1999, Kreitchet was accepted to Northern Arizona University’s art program. Under the direction of ceramic wizard, Don Bendel, and new arrival, Jason Hess, Kreitchet explored wood firing for the next five years. She was greatly influenced by Hess’s innovative approach to woodfiring. She also credits the influence of Paula Rice, Ellen Tibbets, and Ted Adler who encouraged her to experiment in all areas of ceramics.

After graduation, Kreitchet was fortunate to assist renowned ceramic artist Don Reitz. During the two year assistantship in Sycamore Canyon, Arizona, working and living on “the ranch” was a challenging experience for Kreitchet–physically, mentally, and spiritually. By watching and absorbing Reitz’s skillful techniques with hand building, Kreitchet was inspired to push her own ideas with clay. In 2006, Kreitchet joined the Masters of Fine Arts program at Utah State University under the guidance of John Neely and Dan Murphy. At USU, Kreitchet continued to pursue woodfire and her ceramic muse. She received her Masters of Fine Arts in May of 2009.

Currently, Kreitchet is living and working in Pomona, CA. She is the Studio Director at AMOCA Ceramics Studio located at the American Museum of Ceramic Arts (AMOCA). Since 2011, Kreitchet and her team has developed and built a strong ceramics program with classes, visiting artists, residents, and studio members. Due to COVID-19 and the lack of community activities, Kreitchet has steered the studio to become a residency program, continue firing services for the SoCal community, and is in the beginning stages of becoming a clay distributor for Laguna Clay Company.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I have been very lucky that my journey has been smooth and with lessons learned from mistakes and challenges that I have faced head-on. Creating wood-fire sculpture has always been difficult to sell and market to an audience. But I love firing that specific type of kiln which is the sole purpose of why I am in the field of ceramics. There is nothing like firing a wood kiln, it is the “extreme sport” of ceramics. I am at a place of acceptance with selling or not selling my wood-fired sculpture because of the joy I receive from the making and firing process.

AMOCA Ceramics Studio – what should we know? What do you do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
As an artist, I specialize in wood-fired ceramics/sculpture. I have been wood-firing for over 20 years. It is my passion. I have taught workshops nationally and internationally. I have exhibited my artwork nationally and internationally. I became interested in painting about two years ago and have really enjoyed using color in express myself in a 2d format.

My job in Pomona, CA is the Studio Director at AMOCA Ceramics Studio (American Museum of Ceramic Art). I have been at the studio for nearly ten years. My biggest joy is seeing how our artists have grown and developed their individuality and craftsmanship in their work. Some of our residents have been working in clay since we opened in 2011. So, their experience in our studio has taught me how important art is to the community and the human expression. The artwork that is being created and the caring camaraderie between our residents has always made me feel that we have achieved our goal here in SoCal.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
Success goes beyond how much income is generated at our studio. Seeing our artists grow and work together in our clay community is very important to AMOCA Ceramics Studio’s success. Our well-being, ability to share ceramic knowledge, mentorship between residents, curiousity to explore new ideas and take risks, and how we support each other is what makes our studio one to remember.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:

Kelly McLendon, Heidi Kreitchet, Linda Hsaio

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