Artist Profile: CAC Teacher Jeanne Carreau


Jeanne Carreau started working with clay almost fifty years ago. She says that she first fell in love with clay when she was fifteen years old. Since then, Carreau has majored in Japanese Culture at Stanford University, was trained as a potter’s apprentice in Japan and received her MA from UC Berkeley in East Asian Studies. She has exhibited her work in Tokyo, Hong Kong (with a show opening this month), and New York, and has taught classes all over the United States, as well as in Hong Kong. She currently teaches beginning and intermediate wheel classes, special needs classes and private lessons for adults and children at Clay Art Center.

Carreau’s work is wheel thrown. She likes to make large things that are functional, but have a sculptural feel to them. She concentrates more on the form, than the surface decoration, and she likes to take advantage of the serendipity that happens in the kiln.

Carreau’s favorite piece that she has made is the one that hasn’t been made yet. It’s always the one that she is making next. It’s what she is most focused on and most curious about. She says that once she finishes something, she has fully gotten it out of her system and then she can focus on the next piece.  

Carreau’s biggest influences in ceramics were Japan’s approach to working with clay as well as her very first teacher at age fifteen who was an elderly man in Kansas. She was impressed with his strength and vitality. She also states that her master’s thesis, which was about two different styles of Japanese pottery, also had a large influence on her process and mentality when creating.

She loves how there is always a place for different artistic voices in the ceramic art world in the United States. Carreau says the best part for her is that she gets to have a voice. “There’s always a place for work that’s made from the heart. It always speaks to someone,” states Carreau.

Clay Art Center is Carreau’s home away from home. She describes it as her happy place. The environment is very comfortable and relaxed. “You make pots here, but you also make lifelong friends here,” she states.

For more info about Jeanne Carreau watch her video - 50 Years of Clay -  here.