Sunday, September 22, 2013

Featured Artist - Mayra Paldon

Featured Artist: Mayra Paldon of Mayra Stoneware Design

I first met Mayra when my mom and I started boarding our horses at her ranch, which she shares with her partner, Amy. They're such inspiring women. Not only are they amazing horsewomen, but they are both incredibly talented writers and artists. 

Mayra not only gets to play with horses all day, (to which we're eternally grateful, our horse Uno has never been happier!), she runs her pottery workshop out of a converted garage in their ranch house. Located in the serene and inspiring hills of Badger, California, at the base of the Sequoia National Forest, it is the perfect place for an artist to call home. Her pottery is beautifully on display in every room in their home. Even their kitties love eating out of her hand-made dishes! She clearly does this as a passion, and the pieces she creates are not only beautiful and unique, they're incredibly functional and durable. 

I feel like I'm back at their mountain ranch every time I drink from one of her hand-thrown mugs. She's given several to me as gifts (thank you, Mayra!), and they're perfect for my long days at work. They're easy to hold, and can hold a LOT of coffee! Some of them even have a lid to keep beverages nice and hot! In addition to her stone kitchen-ware, Mayra makes one-of-a-kind spiritual urns. I'm proud to say that some remains of my late horse, Tucker, is housed in one of her pieces. I wouldn't have it any other way. 

Last weekend, I had the privilege of visiting their ranch. Okay, I'll admit it, I really needed some horse therapy. It's been a while since I had been up the hill (hence my last post, "Back at the Ranch"), so it was time to go back. Mayra and Amy opened up their home with very little notice, so between rides, I made sure to take the time to snatch a few photos of Mayra at work in her studio. 

I've always wanted to do a post about Mayra and the work she does at the top of their little magical hill. Every time I go, I return so inspired to get back to work on my own art. And maybe some day I'll have a ranch of my own, complete with its own art studio, overlooking the vast peacefulness of the California foothills. But until that happens, I'll just have to visit them. Which is a wonderful problem to have.

In order to reach a broad market from the top of an oak-lined hill in Central California, Mayra runs an online shop through etsy: and her own website: Her prices are incredibly reasonable considering everything is hand-made by her in her studio. She does everything from design to production to marketing to distribution. She is a hard-working lady, but takes her time, and creates each piece with dedication and care. 

Inspired by the beauty of the surrounding areas and the horses she cares for, Mayra hand-throws most of her items, in addition to creating molds to help save time during the production process. All of her designs are original and she even creates her own glazes that make her items unique, yet identifiable. 

One day, while strolling through the halls at work, I bumped into someone who was carrying one of her mugs. I immediately recognized it by its design and glaze, and its owner was incredibly patient when I ripped it out of his hands so that I could look at the bottom and confirm that yes, it was created by Mayra herself! Still, every time I see him in passing, he's carrying that mug.

I have to say, I'm guilty, too, because these mugs by Mayra are pretty hard to put down!

Check out Mayra's shop here: 

Blog post and photos by Samantha Jane Samuels, Copyright ® 2013