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Pottery artist opens studio for holiday demonstrations
Randy Pearsall stands next to his most recent work at his rural Manteca shop. - photo by HIME ROMERO
It isn’t uncommon for Randy Pearsall to hit as many as 24 different craft shows and boutiques throughout the West in a given year.

But this weekend, Pearsall is opening up his rural East Manteca studio to let longtime customers and interested parties the chance to see the local studio potter in his natural work environment – where hundreds of hand-crafted pottery pieces will be on sale and display.

On the next two Saturdays and Sundays,: Dec. 11, 12, 18 and 19 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Pearsall is holding his 4th annual Christmas Studio Sale that is open to the public at 11820 E. Louise Avenue between Austin Road and Jack Tone Road

With 31 years of experience behind the potter’s wheel, Pearsall has built a dedicated following of people that drive from all throughout the area for the annual event. It will once again include free handcrafted ornaments – in the shape of the silver maple leaf that he famously uses in many of his pieces – as well as cookies and coffee in a holiday theme.

“I’ve been going to some of the same art shows for 25 years and have been selling to the same people that have become friends,” Pearsall said. “With the studio sale, people are able to come in and see where I make the pieces and get a better for how every piece is created.

“I’ll be throwing pieces for people and helping them throw their own – it’s really a good time and something that I look forward to every year.”

And fun is a regular staple for those who come out.

Last year, Good Day Sacramento’s Alan Sanchez held a live remote from the sale and even reenacted the scene from Hollywood blockbuster “Ghost” with Pearsall – which ran on the air and was paired with the Righteous Brothers’ “Unchained Melody.”

His children recorded the segment, and would play it back to get a laugh when their dad was around.

But as much fun as it is, it’s a passion for the artistic and well-received Pearsall – who also sells his pieces to the elegant and pricey Awahanee Hotel in the Yosemite Valley.

Pearsall got his first taste of hand-crafted pottery when he was a college student at San Jose State, and spent much of time after graduating learning as much as he could about the process – building a foundation of knowledge that would eventually lead to him making the choice to go into business for himself.

A typical day for him in his studio typically amounts to between 10 and 12 hours creating, glazing, or firing new pieces. Pearsall creates all of his own lead-free glazes, and even makes some of his own tools to compliment the potter’s staples that he uses on a daily basis. Both of the kilns that he uses to fire pieces and glaze them were also hand-built.

It’s all standard fare for a true artisan that loves what he does and the flexibility it affords.

“It truly is a passion, and a big part of what I love about it is the fact that I get to work from home,” Pearsall said. “The kids could always find me at work in my studio, and I always loved the part where I get to meet the people that use what I make on a regular basis.

“I have people that make suggestions and place custom orders on new things that I want, and I enjoy the fact that I get to adopt those and create something for somebody that they want. It’s the ultimate compliment.”