Denise Breitburg

I am a marine biologist at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center with a deep passion for the beauty and the complexity of the natural world. I started working with clay as an undergraduate, and spent far more hours in the pottery studio than in the biology lab.

Everything about pottery is magical – from the hypnotic spin of the potters wheel, to the transformation of a shapeless lump to a graceful shape, to the mystery of colors appearing in the heat of the kiln.

I am particularly interested in form and balance, and love the look of raw clay. I draw inspiration from the natural world around me, and from the places and cultures I have been fortunate see in my travels. My work ranges from delicate ‘jewel pots’ made of porcelain and silver wire, to large terra cotta platters embellished with images reminiscent of the Southwest and Australia. I am now experimenting with dark high fire clay bodies and bowls ‘poised on point’ to give the illusion of floating in air.

Denise can be reached at: