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During my early years in the trade I began taking ceramics classes at the Clay Studio of SF (now defunct). Since I first got my hands on clay, (1990), I have not stopped being enchanted with the material and its natural flexibility. I love the stuff! From Day One I was hooked.

In 2003 I started spending more serious time at the studio, and have taken numerous workshops with artists to further enhance my art. When The Clay Studio closed in 2011, along with several other clay friends, we started sfclayworks. That studio has become a joy and pleasure, as well as a business endeavor. It is my current home base for all things ceramic.

In addition to ceramics and construction I am also interested in playing my accordion, gardening, travel, food and cooking, family and friends, and taking long walks and enjoying the sunshine.


I am presenting this website as a way for people to get to know me and my artwork. Among other factors, like my family, background, and environment, my work in building/construction has helped form me as a person as well as a ceramic artist. “Making” is what I love most. I have enjoyed the process of building buildings, and I continue to enjoy building forms made from clay. I like the structure and architecture of both. There are times when I simply have to go to my studio just to get my hands around something tangible and create something new. Since I am now retired from my “day job”, of building concrete and wood structures, I have more time to spend on my own unique clay structures.

I am driven by form as well as surface. I also love the fire. I once heard that potters got into clay for love of forms, fire or chemistry. Of those three, I definitely find an affinity for the form and fire. Apologies to my dear Dad, the polymer chemist, as chemistry is not my favorite.

I love to feel the clay in its raw state and add and subtract to the basic slab or wheel thrown face/form of the pot. Cutting, pinching, paddling, and scraping clay all turn me on. I have recently started to use leather in combination with my pots to form a “pots in bondage” series. I suppose that the pinching and paddling is connected to that theme.

Construction Experience
I started in the carpentry trade in late 1979. I joined the Carpenters Union, and started as an apprentice carpenter because I knew that I did not want to spend my days at a desk job. After a four-year apprenticeship, I became a Journeywoman carpenter. Plant Construction kept me dutifully employed for 24 years of my time in the Union. During those 24 years I went from being an apprentice to journeywoman, to forewoman to superintendent. I had the good fortune to work on, and manage, many historic and memorable projects. Included among those were the Frank Lloyd Wright building on Maiden Lane in SF (as one of my first jobs as a forewoman), The Shell Building, The Alcoa Building, The Fairmont Hotel, The Huntington Hotel, The SF Zoo, Lick Wilmerding High School, Urban High School, Marin Academy, and many others.

Nina Saltman

Clay and Construction

In 2006 I went to work for Architectural Resources Group as a Construction Manager. There I worked on projects in Yosemite National Park, The Alameda Theatre and Cavallo Point, to name a few. After three years with ARG I worked for a year and a half on preconstruction services for the new Exploratorium building at Pier 15. Since then I have done several training sessions for future construction superintendents, and taught Construction Management classes at City College in SF. I am currently available for construction consultation only, as my time is happily filled with clay and sfclayworks, instead of construction.