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Functional 209 art you can use to eat with
Randy Pearsall is framed by two of his handmade pottery lamps. - photo by HIME ROMERO

WHAT: Pearsall Stoneware Studio Christmas sale featuring hand-made pottery dinnerware as well as wood sculpture and demonstrations

WHEN: Saturday, Dec. 15, and Sunday, Dec. 16, as well as Saturday, Dec. 22, and Sunday, Dec. 23, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day

WHERE: 11820 E. Louise Ave. on the south side a half mile west of Jack Tone Road.. Take the Highway 99 Yosemite Avenue exit in Manteca and travel east to the second traffic signal at Austin Road and turn  left. Travel a mile to the stop sign and turn right on Louise Avenue. The studio is about a mile to the east on Austin Road.

Randy Pearsall is offering hand-made pottery creation demonstrations for the sixth year on  Dec. 15, 16, 22, and 23  at his Stoneware studio on Louise Avenue, a half mile west of Jack Tone Road.

The educational event and sale will run from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. on all four days.

The Christmas season is the only time Pearsall opens the doors of his rural studio for demonstrations and for offerings of his products to the local public. He has been creating functional art for 30 years.

Pearsall said the rural area surrounding his studio produces some of the natural inspiration from trees such as the Silver Maples that can be found adorning his trademark pieces.

The use of East Coast leaves has been incorporated into his designs for dishware commissioned in recent years by the National Conservatory. 

Experimentation is a constant for the Manteca artisan. His glazes aren’t manufactured.  Using a variety of chemicals, he creates them himself with different colorings and designs – noting there is no lead used in his productions.

His products run from $10,  to be competitive with chain stores,  to near $100 for a set of canisters among. He turns out some 100 different pieces in his 12-hour days over six days a week – saying he loves it that he gets to work at home amidst almond orchards and area farms.

For homemakers with a left-handed approach to beating eggs in their kitchen, Pearsall has created unique bowls. These are available for right-handed individuals as well.  He said he saw the need while watching his wife beating eggs in her kitchen.  All of his creations withstand extreme heat and cold and are microwave and dishwasher safe.

The Mantecan has a love for creating salt and pepper shakers due to the technical challenges in forming exact fittings for the bottom plug as well as the shaker holes on the tops.

Pearsall’s one-man operation can be seen profiling his art work at design shows from Northern California to Nevada and into Arizona and Southern California.

Fans from all over the world

The Manteca artisan noted it was rewarding to know “people are using my work to eat cereal out of every morning.”

In many cases, those who buy his “function ware” feel a strong connection to the man who created it.

One couple from England visiting Yosemite Valley found out that his studio on the way back to the San Francisco area. They called him to see if they could stop by. They ended up spending a good amount of time chatting and ordered a 12-place setting.

“It cost more to ship it to England than it did for them to buy it,” Pearsall said.

It is unusual for someone to make a living off their art, it is even more rare when it is a one-man operation.

Pearsall does art and craft shows throughout Northern California; Genoa, Nev.; Arizona, and occasionally Southern California.

One Southern California town — Springville — has an annual show that Pearsall has gone to for years.

“People come by our booths at a lot of shows and tell us about other pieces they have,” Pearsall said. “They ask now my family is doing. They’re just like friends.”

He recalled a recent call from the town’s high school principal who told him they recently had a potluck at the school. When it was over, everyone was fighting over whose dishware was whose.

“He said there were about 80 different pieces that I had made at the potluck,” Pearsall said.