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Current Instructors

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Our faculty members are working professionals with expertise and experience in the field of ceramics. You will find our faculty is a collective genius with creative diversity that makes Xiem™ Clay Center a fun and exciting place to be inspired, learn, explore share and build new relationships outside one's professional circle.

  Biliana Popova received her MFA from the National Academy of Fine Art, Sofia, Bulgaria. She has exhibited and won numerous awards for her work. Currently, she is a Board Member of American Ceramics Society Design Chapter of Southern California. One of our earliest instructors, Biliana now teaches short workshops at Xiem when her overly busy schedule permits.
  Carol Aronowsky received her BS at Ithaca College and MA from the New York University. She has taught ceramics at Block Vacation Home, New York, Motion Picture Television Country Home, Woodland Hills, and Otis College of Art and Design, Westchester, California. She established her pottery studio in 1977.
  Heather Rosenman, a New York native, received a BFA from The Cooper Union and a postgraduate design degree from The Basel School of Design in Switzerland. Her work experience ranges from creative director of branding design to teaching wheel and hand-building techniques to all levels and ages, always with an emphasis on design. Heather has exhibited her sculptural work in galleries and shows nationally. She currently presents the Art Center Ceramics Lab at Xiem course and teaches Surface Design.
  Jose Salinas Batancourt went to school at Glendale Community College where he completed their Certificate in Ceramics. Through his experience at GCC he developed a strong understanding of the technical aspects of ceramics. José went on to teach and tech in various studios throughout the Los Angeles area including Xiem Studio, where he took over as Lab Tech on Junzo Mori’s retirement in 2015. His focus is on glaze formation and exploration with an emphasis on firing or, as he prefers to call it, "The Art of the Flame." Jose currently holds the Senior Lab Tech position at Glendale College and continues to be part of our instructional team.
  Lourdes Jiménez received her BA and MA from California State University, Northridge and her MFA from Florida State University in 2015. Her ceramic work revolves around the notions of spreading and growing, of movement and wandering; it is the accumulation of narratives that experiences leave behind through the nostalgia of everyday objects and changing environments. It has been shown nationally - in California, Florida and Georgia. Lourdes joined Xiem as Studio Tech early in 2016 and joined our instructional team in October 2016.
  Michael Shigeru Sbicca received his ceramic training at Xiem and began assisting Lab Tech Jose Salinas in June 2015. Michael took over as Studio Manager and Lab Tech when Jose left Xiem in February of 2016. In his own practice, Michael uses stoneware and porcelain, and incorporates a variety of carving, alteration and slip techniques to decorate his work which ranges from Tikis to tea bowls. Michael joined our instruction team in 2016, working as TA for Heather Rosenman in the Art Center Ceramics Lab course at Xiem. His work can be found on-line and at Tiki sales throughout California.
  Sharon Mann Garrett is a maker of wheel thrown dinnerware which she markets throughout Southern California under the brand of MANN Handmade: Everyday Dishes for Extraordinary People. Her work is informed by the celebration of cooking, serving and eating. Her goal as instructor is to guide learners to reach expert proficiency in the practice of wheel-throwing so that they may explore design aesthetics without technical inhibitions. Sharon is completing a Master’s Degree in Ceramics at California State University Northridge and has been part of the Xiem instructional team since 2016.
  Titia Estes designed and made jewelry for several years before becoming interested in ceramics. She works from her studio in downtown Los Angeles and exhibits her work in the Southern California area. Her belief is that the desire to create is essential to human nature. It is her aim to assist students with the basic technical and creative process of hand building in a comfortable and informative atmosphere.

Past Instructors

  Annabelle Aylmer is a multidisciplinary artist currently working in clay. Her current work explores form and ideas relating to modernism. She received her MFA from Claremont Graduate University in Sculpture/Installation. Her work includes performance, site specific installation as well as Sculpture. She has shown internationally as well as locally in galleries, museums and in site specific locations. Annabelle taught Sculpture, Drawing and Design at Glendale Community College for 21 years until her retirement in June 2013.She currently lives and works in her studio in Altadena, California.
  Bari Ziperstein holds an MFA from CalArts and a BFA in Painting and a Women’s Studies Degree from Ohio University. She has working experience ranging from art gallery administration to teaching, and has worked as a non-profit board member, an independent curator, an archivist, and in artist studios and the University classroom. Her teaching experience includes classes in painting, drawing, site-specific sculpture, professional practices, ceramics, and art & feminism at UCSD, UCR, CSSSA, CalArts, and LACMA since 2006.
  Jim Heuston graduated from Art College Of Design in Illustration. He joined the Xiem™ faculty in the summer of 2004. A dedicated and gifted potter, Jim is an extremely popular throwing instructor who works with all ages and skill levels. Jim also devotes considerable attention to his own studio production, in which he uses warm colors and incised design to enrich the surfaces of his robustly thrown teapots, jars and platters.
  Joan Mannos has a BFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, and Tufts University. She specializes in wheel thrown pottery and works in porcelain. Joan is an hiker and wildflower enthusiast, who derives much of her inspiration from nature.
  Junzo Mori received his undergraduate degree from USC. A native of Japan, Junzo is an active potter and participates in shows throughout LA. Junzo joined Xiem™ in late 2003 as a member and shortly afterwards took on the responsibility of studio technician. With years of firing experience and with the sensitivity and care of an artist, Junzo ensures that work in the studio is properly fired. Junzo is a teaching assistant to Suzette Munnik in the for-credit ceramics program Xiem presents for students from Occidental College.
  Karen Ring Mealiffe received her BFA from California College of the Arts and her MFA from Cal State Northridge. She has taught publicly and privately for over thirty five years. Karen served as Art/Ceramics Director at La Canada High School in La Canada Flintridge, California for twenty five years. Throughout her teaching career Karen has received many awards, one from La Canada Unified School District where she was selected as "Teacher of the Year" in 1999. Otis College of Art and Design twice honored her as "Teacher of the Year" as well. In addition to her teaching accolades, she is an exhibiting artist and has garnered multiple awards for her ceramic art.
  Kevin Nguyen is the founder of Xiem™ Clay Center. He received his BS in Industrial Design from Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, California. He worked on staff for two leading design consultancies - Hauser Inc., and Designworks/USA, a subsidiary of BMW. In addition to his work in ceramics, Kevin has been recognized with various national awards for product design. In 2002, he worked as a teaching assistant in the Ceramic Department of Santa Monica College. Kevin has exhibited his work in galleries and shows all over the state of California.
  Mary Oligny has an MFA from Otis Art Institute. Her background is in drawing and painting and for the past several years she has been working in clay. She enjoys the contemplative nature of the making process and the building of form provides a three dimensional canvas for expressive surface and color. She exhibits her work in shows and galleries in southern California.
  Patrick Sheehan studied fine arts at the University of California at Santa Barbara. His work exhibits diverse influences from both classic Asian ceramic history and from his day job in industrial manufacturing. Patrick recently established Hoken Studio to further his pottery from hobby to profession. He enjoys passing along the information and techniques he learned from his own instructors and strives to create a comfortable and encouraging studio experience.
  Ray Yocum studied painting and drawing at the University of San Diego, earning his BA in Fine Arts, with a minor in art history. He received his BFA from Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles, where the fundamentals of painting, drawing, ceramics, design, and sculpture were emphasized, and then received his MFA in Intermediate in 1980. Ray is on the Board of Directors at McGroarty Arts Center and has taught at Barnsdall Art Center since 1994. His teaching philosophy emphasizes skills as a pathway to creativity.
  Roger Lee received his MFA from Clemson University in South Carolina and his BFA from San Jose State University. Although his portfolio primarily consists of sculptural objects, his background derives from working on the wheel. He currently teaches at Oxnard College in Ventura County and works at Heath Ceramics as a Studio Assistant / Lab Technician.
  Roger Porter received his BA with honors from the University of Texas, and MFA from the University of Arizona. Roger has an extensive 40 years of experience with glaze control, glaze calculation and color development for all temperatures. He is also very passionate about ceramic raw materials and technical literature. At present, he is teaching glaze calculation at Glendale Community College.
  Suzette Munnik is Xiem™ Clay Center’s Education Director. She received her undergraduate qualification in Ceramic Art and Design from the Johannesburg School of Art in 1970 followed by National Higher Diplomas in Ceramics (1981) and Tertiary Education (1983) from Technikon Witwatersrand. She has held various academic positions in South Africa from 1977 to 2003 at the University of Natal, University of Cape Town and at the Technikon Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. Suzette joined Xiem™ in August 2004 and is responsible for all education programs at the Center.
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