Seattle Studio Potter: Deborah Schwartzkopf

Deb Schwartzkopf

I find momentum in building a life full of exploration, community and clay. At Rat City Studios I teach classes & workshops, host social events, & offer emerging artists studio space in exchange for help in the studio. Check the events tab for opportunities to stop by the studio.


I was born and raised in Seattle, Washington.  From 1999-2002 I earned a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Alaska and worked for studio potters in the Anchorage area.  This gave me an amazing foundation to spring from.  Focusing on glazing was my goal during a year of independent study at San Diego State University, I then completed a Masters of Fine Arts at Penn State in May  of 2005. Since then I have taught at Ohio University, Massachusetts College of Art and Design and the University of Washington.  I have worked nationally at the Archie Bray Foundation (MT), Mudflat Studios (MA), The Clay Studio (PA), Pottery Northwest (WA), Watershed (ME), and internationally at Sanbao in Jingdezhen, China, and the Residency for Ceramics-Berlin in, Germany.  I also had the pleasure of teaching with the University of Georgia’s study abroad program in Cortona, Italy for a semester. I have taught over 80 workshops and exhibited all around the country, as well as internationally. After ten years of traveling for education, residencies, and teaching appointment I moved back to Seattle in 2009.  I bought a house and studio space in 2013, and since then have been doing projects galore to create a beautiful, functional space to make pots in.  Myself, studio assistants, studio members who rent space, and people participating in classes all work in clay here.  Together, we keep the wheels turning! 


Momentum, Curiosity, Community

In order to make pottery I must approach the clay with openness and practiced skill, with a clear idea and playful intuition.  My studio practice is a constant cycle referring to itself in the way I draw from my own processes and from my approach to problem solving.  I also look farther afield, drinking in the many details of the world around me. I am a sponge for nuances of color placement in birds and how shadows break up forms and cause me to notice them anew. I am always seeking and asking myself, “How does this cup feel when held? Where will this pitcher live?  What am I communicating with this line or volume?”  As I spend hours in my studio working away, my mind blends and refracts the interests I research and the circling, recurring questions.  I love the stillness and intensity of my studio practice in which I am free to listen, to move clay, to invent… My studio practice feeds me.  I am fulfilled building my community through teaching workshops, trading eggs with neighbors, and spending time with friends and family. I am busy like a bee tending to the details of life, keeping up with my many hobbies, keeping my studio practice vibrate, promoting my career, mentoring in the studio, gardening and occasionally tinking away on my banjo. This constant motion feeds my energy and excitement for life, which I strive to capture in the forms and surfaces of my pottery.