Randy Pearsall has amassed somewhat of a cult following.
The Manteca pottery artist that hits upwards of two dozen art shows throughout the West every year has been at his craft for so long that people bring him gifts when they come to see his latest wares – a varied collection of handcrafted kitchen items ranging from plates to whisking bowls.
And now he gets his chance to return the favor.
This weekend Pearsall will again be opening up the home studio at his East Manteca home to customers and friends for his annual Christmas show and sale – an opportunity for the solo artist with more than 30 years of experience behind the wheel to thank those that buy his work.
Hundreds of pieces thrown by Pearsall will be on display and available for purchase on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at his studio located at 11820 E. Louise Avenue between Austin Road and Jack Tone Road.
“It’s just a great chance for people who have been longtime customers to come to the studio,” Pearsall said. “Some have really become friends over the years. Karen makes cookies and there’s coffee and it’s really a thank you to our regular customers.
“It also gives them a chance to see where I make all of the pieces at the same time.”
Last weekend Pearsall had visitors from San Francisco, San Jose and Bakersfield making the trek out to Manteca to stop in and say hi while at the same time picking up a few things for Christmas. Getting to see Pearsall in his natural setting was an added perk for longtime customers that have collections his work, and gave him a chance to let his hair down in a familiar environment.
“It definitely takes some work to get ready for this, but this is something that we look forward to every year,” he said. “We get a lot of people that come through, and it’s nice to see some of the familiar faces as well as new people that stop in to check it out.”
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 built both the propane-operated kilns that he uses.
And as a way to incorporate a little slice of home into many of his creations, Pearsall often glazes silver maple leaves into them – a staple of the products that he has available for sale at the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite Valley.
Then there are the scenarios where he hears how far his reputation actually travels.
A neighboring homeowner who had never before stopped by popped in on Saturday and told Pearsall about an experience he had up at Pinecrest Lake – helping somebody who was having trouble with an RV. When he told the person where he lived, the RVers responded that he lived “right near that potter.”
Naturally he had to come in and see the display for himself.
“It’s nice to have Manteca people come in and support a Manteca artist. It’s great that they recognize what I’m doing here as an artist in Manteca and that they come out and support that,” Pearsall said. “It’s flattering to hear something like that, but even better knowing that we have somebody new coming in.
“We’re looking forward to having old friends stop by, but also getting the chance to make new ones as well.”