Erich Steinhagen has been making pottery since the age of 15. Starting with a high school ceramics course in St. Marys, Pennsylvania, he served , and branching out to several summers as an apprentice to local potter Dog Sassi, he went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in art with a focus on ceramics from Saint Vincent College, Latrobe, PA. He has taught clay classes at Quinebaug Valley Community College in Danielson, CT, as well as at his former clay studio, Fire & Fiber. His decades of experience with clay enable him to craft intricate, unusual pieces with the skill and precision of his early American predecessors.
Janice Steinhagen brings her own lifelong art experience to her sgraffito work. She earned a bachelor of arts degree in art education with an emphasis in fiber arts from Seton Hill University, Greensburg, PA, not far from Mount Pleasant, PA, her hometown. A longtime art teacher, art critic, dressmaker, spinner, weaver and dabbler in the fiber arts, she has created works in weaving, knitting, stitchery, batik and crochet. Besides being her family’s resident 18th-century tailor, she decorates Erich’s pottery in the 18th century sgraffito style of the Pennsylvania Germans. Her designs are inspired by (not necessarily copied from) early motifs taken from both clay and textile works, and each piece is hand-drawn and unique. Together, the Steinhagens mine their Pennsylvania roots to create redware that echoes the work of Pennsylvania’s Pennsylvania German potters, as well as drawing inspiration from English and early New England sources.