When it comes to his pottery, Jon Almeda takes it to the next level. In his case, it means shrinking his work down to a miniature scale. Raised in Hawaii and the Pacific Northwest, Almeda finds his inspiration in the ever-changing cloud formations in the sky and the movement of the tides. Those also perform as a backdrop to his work, as most of his practice is carried out in the great outdoors.
In response to his love of nature, Almeda created his own small portable pottery wheel to take out on location and create pieces outside in the open air – a practice known as plein air pottery. According to his website, his practice is a response to the colors, energies, textures, and composition found in nature: the cool dark waters and tall evergreens of the Pacific Northwest and the luscious flora and textures of the ocean in Hawaii.
A self-taught artist, his craft was learned through trial and error. After years of creating large scale pieces with a “bigger is better” mentality, he switched gears when coming across a book called “Creating Ceramic Miniatures”. Challenging himself, he soon discovered that working small was much harder then he imagined. He tested different clay bodies, made his own tools, and tried new techniques to improve the detail of each new piece.
After 17 years of creating miniatures, Almeda is still challenging himself to improve and to try new things with each kiln load. His challenges now include a change of scenery, as he shares videos of him enjoying a sunset near the water, while creating his miniature works. But Almeda’s pieces are impressive even without context, and look exactly like their larger counterpart in detail and proportion. His glazes are varied and rich and each piece is truly a one of kind. Take a look for yourself: