Jim finds inspiration from the surrounding natural areas.
“In Hawaii, I do turtles and whales. Here, I do mountain and horses and quail. I have generic tri-color items, which are just blue, green and white colors. Blue is a very popular color. Both here and in Hawaii, there are a lot of horse people.”
Like Jim himself, his pottery designs continue to evolve. He listens to his customers and thoughtfully refines his designs.
“This little bulge in the cup gives a lot more volume than a straight cup. This little ridge is a place where your finger can grab and not slide. This flair is for your lip. Too much flare and your drink spills out over the edge. I used to put a foot on the bottom, but because I try to make my work inexpensive, I removed the foot; it takes more work and more clay. I do what I call a depressed foot, which works like a tripod and sits level. Also, feet on coffee cups get strained in the corner! These are just things you learn over years of doing them, and I’m still learning!"
Jim has studied under master potter Takeo Sudo, and his work has been displayed in museums. He is currently a Methow Arts Artist-in-Residence and teaches classes at 92 Lower Beaver Creek, 5 miles south of Twisp.
Visit his online gallery!
Jim Neupert's Pottery
Jim Neupert has been making pottery for over 40 years. He has a Masters in Ceramics and has taught sculpture, stonework and metal work, but his passion ultimately lies with clay.
“The pulling of the wall is the tough part that takes years to learn. I figured out that each piece of clay, each pot, I handled 30 times before it’s out the door. The throwing is a very small part of the whole process but it’s the part that everyone likes. I use the mirror so that I don’t have to bend over so much and can look at the shape in the mirror.”
Jim’s explorations in clay started at the University of Puget Sound where he learned from a very good teacher and had access to a large ceramic studio. After graduating, he moved back to his childhood home in Spokane where he continued to work hard to gather equipment while working a day job in wholesale plumbing and heating. Jim’s adaptability and dedication paid off, and he soon started to teach classes at Spokane Arts School and the Parks & Recreation department. He moved to and taught at Whitworth University for eight years before taking a chance and moving to the Methow Valley, where he built his own house and started his own classes.
"When I was building, there were few galleries, and I didn't think I could make a living here, but we gave it a shot, and I've been here ever since."