Just the Facts Studio Visit: Maria White

Coleman Porcelain by Aardvark Clay primarily, sometimes B-Mix stoneware when I’m teaching

Primary forming method 

thrown, altered, and cast porcelain

Primary firing temperature
mid range—mostly cone 6 (oxidation), occasionally cone 10 (reduction)

Favorite surface treatment

carved or simple forms, sometimes with minimal brush work

Favorite tools

Mudtools carving tools

Studio Playlist
I love an eclectic mix of music from classical to punk to jazz, film soundtracks as well. I also listen to NPR, podcasts, and audio books. 

an assistant


My studio is located in a Craftsman bungalow in a commercial-and-residential area in Charleston, South Carolina. I selected this space because of the location, the light, and the possibilities. It offers a cozy vibe that I hope will build community and inspire creativity. While I’ve had a home studio before, I now enjoy having this house as a separate space dedicated to work. My husband, who is a writer and filmmaker, also works here. We occasionally collaborate on film projects.

We bought the studio “craft house” in the summer of last year. It was built in 1920 and has been renovated to have modern fixtures. The house itself is a little over 1000 square feet. I throw and design in one room, which is just around 200 square feet and has large windows, a closet for storage, and shelving. I use a Workpro table as my wedging table and have additional stainless-steel worktables for easy clean up. I use a magnetic knife strip to organize my tools. In the main room, I use a table made of a durable material that wipes down easily for space when I need to spread out or for workshops, social events, collaborations with other artists, or for my kids to do their homework or projects. The shelves in the main space were custom made by local woodworker, Jonathan Rypkema, which we installed to display work. I love the versatility of these shelves, and he created one for my studio as well. My favorite aspect of this studio is the natural light and the art I have displayed, ranging from that of local painters to photography by cinematographers we’ve worked with. The space receives abundant light throughout, and it just feels really good to be in there. It also has a kitchen and I love to entertain and have students, clients, and colleagues over for coffee and conversation. I became a hobbyist barista during the pandemic and love sharing my collection of mugs and cups with guests when they stop by the studio, offering them an Americano or cappuccino to sip on out of a handmade pot.

Studio Visit: Maria White Studio Visit: Maria White

The laundry room has been transformed into the kiln and glaze materials room. I fire with a Skutt kiln and use an EnviroVent. We have a small backyard and use the back porch for casting and glazing, and I also have a wheel out back to throw outside—I love throwing outside on a beautiful day, which we are fortunate to have a lot of in the mild, subtropical climate of Charleston. My dream is to eventually create an outdoor work area and patio, as well as build an exterior shed to use for casting, for my spray booth, and to house the kilns.

I have learned so much from each space I have worked in, including what I do and don’t want to replicate. Both of my parents had studios when I was growing up, so I knew I wanted a studio of my own someday. My mother was always designing clothing or costumes, and my father was painting or doing graphic design. When I was a much younger potter working in a co-op called Clayworks, founded by Susan Filley (the first of its kind here in Charleston), I learned to keep up after my scraps of clay, try to stay organized, and recycle so as not to contaminate other clays or be wasteful. During my apprenticeship with Michael Sherrill, I learned a lot about being open to possibilities in a studio so that it’s more dynamic, utilizing simple solutions like adding casters to tables so they are mobile, making it easier to create more fluidly. I love that the main space of my studio can just as easily host a handbuilding workshop, group art therapy, or a birthday party. From my recent residency at Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts in Newcastle, Maine, I picked up some tricks on how to keep a tidier studio, such as keeping a bucket with holes drilled at the top in the sink to let water easily drain out while clay and glaze settle. This prevents the sink from getting filled up with clay.

Studio Visit: Maria White

Paying Dues (and Bills)

I have a BA in art from Winthrop University, in Rock Hill, South Carolina, where I learned to throw and had my first deep introduction to ceramics. I moved to Los Angeles to open my own studio in 2005, where I worked for 13 years. My husband and I moved there to pursue careers in art and film. While in Los Angeles, I had other jobs to pay the bills, ranging from catering to doing acting work part time. (A fun experience—I was the stand-in for Demi Moore on Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle.) I later went on to design ceramics for major motion pictures and TV series (Friends), and started designing ceramics for restaurants and interior designers. I am also occasionally a filmmaker and have worked as a director and producer.

When we arrived back in Charleston, I joined Cone 10 Studios, a co-op studio founded by Betsey Carter, Fiorenzo Berardozzi, and Anne John. It was amazing to be received so warmly by the ceramics community after I’d been gone for over a decade. I spent almost 4 years in that space and forged amazing friendships with local artists. I then joined Studio Union, a multimedia studio space founded by ceramic artist and painter Susan Gregory, in North Charleston, for 2 years before moving into my current studio. I am so grateful for all of my studio experiences; each one has taught me so much about being an artist and relationships. 

Studio Visit: Maria White Studio Visit: Maria White

My studio is open by appointment only at this point. I have two young children, so I cannot always keep regular hours as I am their primary caretaker and work around the academic calendar. My typical day is this: I drop off my children at school, then around 8am, I come to the studio, make coffee, let my dog out in the back, and assess my workload for the day. I’m either throwing, casting, trimming, making glazes, loading or unloading a kiln, answering emails, or shipping work. I sometimes teach, so the day’s tasks might include prepping for a private lesson. I also run a nonprofit called Mugs for Moms and I host “Muddy Meetups” out of my studio. These meetups are when I work with an art therapist and a group of new moms or hopeful parents for an hour or so and do handbuilding projects so that participants can work with clay and have a safe space to share and connect. We work to raise awareness for maternal mental health and provide mental health resources and opportunities for art therapy and education. 

Studio Visit: Maria White

Studio Visit: Maria White Studio Visit: Maria White


I sell directly out of my studio, or out of gallery shops such as our local art museum, The Gibbes Museum of Art, and am represented by Show and Tell Art and Design.

I grow my market by doing shows both online and in person, like the American Craft Council shows, museum shows, pop-up markets, and galleries. My greatest successes online have been through Instagram. Through this platform, my work has reached collectors and colleagues I would never have met otherwise. I use social media to market my work by posting process, finished work, and shows I might be doing, but also to share inspirations that might inform my work down the road. I also share failures. I think it’s important to share the reality of studio life—it takes a lot of perseverance and there is always risk and loss in ceramics.

Studio Visit: Maria White Studio Visit: Maria White

My work is very tactile, so it’s always beneficial when people can touch the work or see it in action to truly appreciate the translucent quality of some of my pieces. I have recently hosted open studio events, which is a great way to connect with customers. I think when a customer gets to see your process first-hand, they become more connected to you as a maker and to the work. I do maintain an email list but only send out an email very rarely.

Studio Visit: Maria White


I am presently reading The Life List of Adrian Mandrick: A Novel, by Chris White, and my go to for finding inspiration is reading poetry. I love the poetry of Mary Oliver, Pablo Neruda, Patti White, and local Charleston poet Marcus Amaker. Poetry is a fast way for me to get inspired and have a fresh perspective. I subscribe to National Geographic and watch documentaries and films when I can. I visit with friends and love having quality time connecting. Seeing live performances, such as plays and music, or a show at a museum or gallery, is often inspiring. I am fortunate to live close to the ocean and often go to the beach with my family and our dog Loki, or go for a long walk to meditate by the sea. If my mind is really stuck, I do a chore I’ve been procrastinating on like cleaning shelves or organizing tools. I love to sketch as well—that usually loosens me up and doing something physical like a walk or yoga helps, too. 

Studio Visit: Maria White Studio Visit: Maria White

Studio Visit: Maria White

Most Important Lesson

Surround yourself with other artists, other entrepreneurs that you respect, and who respect you—having community is essential! Say no more often so that you are not giving up precious time to work or projects you know need your attention. And give yourself time to experiment and play. There is growth in the serendipity.