sfclayworks was recently approached to make pottery pieces for the world premier San Francisco Opera production of The Gospel of Mary Magdelene – music and libretto by Mark Adamo.

Unsure if we could satisfy the needs of the production, we met with “Prop Master” Lori Harrison to go over what was expected of us. We were given images and dimensions for the pieces and ultimately we were asked to make the following forms and also a variety of shards.

Wedding Bottles – Make 2. Height: 14” (width proportional to height)

Tavern Mugs – Make 18. Height: 4″-5” (width proportional to height)

Tavern Bottles  – Make 4. Height 9″-10″(width proportional to height)

Wedding Goblets – Make 4. Width: 4 “ (height proportional to width)

As everyone who makes pottery knows, you must make more than you are asked to make in order to accomodate the various mishaps that can happen throughout its production. So many steps in the ceramic creation process could spell disaster such as cracking, explosions, kiln disasters, and incorrect shrinkage, just to name a few.

In a fairly tight time frame, Nina Saltman and Joyce Fujiwara of sfclayworks hit the trenches and managed to create more than the requested selection of pottery along with additonal shards to decorate the set. It is always a challenge to put an order together, but if the response of San Francisco Opera contact Lori Harrison is any indication, it was a job well done! Rumor has it that San Francisco Opera set personnel have exclaimed how beautiful the pottery turned out. We are looking forward to seeing our pots on stage during the performance, as one of the perks is rumored to be tickets to the production and some credits in the program.

Overall, the experience has been an exciting endeavor, but the real excitement will be when we are able to see our work on stage!

OPERA UPDATE: June 24, 2013, Monday

We received tickets to the opera as promised and even had the opportunity to attend the world premier! We are happy to report that our pottery was used prominantly in a couple of different scenes. We were informed during our backstage tour that if the opera is “picked up” by any other opera company, after the San Francisco debut, that our pots will travel along with the production. Who knows where our creations will end up?

We managed to find an amazing photograph of our pottery in full use on stage. It is the perfect picture for sfclayworks as Nina made the goblet, Joyce made the bottle, and they have them superbly lit in an action shot!

Our pots in action!

Our pots in action!

Maria Kanyova as Miriam (Yeshua’s mother) recounts a story to Magdalene in the world premiere of Mark Adamo’s The Gospel of Mary Magdalene on Sunday, June 16, 2013 in San Francisco, Calif. Photo: Rohan Smith, The Chronicle


Below you will find a selection of in progress shots of our pottery production for The San Francisco Opera –The Gospel of Mary Magdelene.