John Riley Pottery

Washington, D.C.

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John Riley

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John Riley


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About johnrileypottery

Sales 95
On Etsy since 2011

High Fire, Functional Pottery | Handmade in the District of Columbia by John Riley

I like to make functional items for everyday use that will enhance the experience of cooking, eating, and drinking, and enliven the beauty of your home. Building on my previous creative practice as a painter, I sometimes paint, carve designs, and apply slips in order to enhance the surface of the piece. My work is inspired by both the rural and urban elements around me: the fields and grasslands of my home state of Nebraska, the cherry blossom trees in Washington, DC, and the hard edges and colors of city buildings and sidewalks.

One of my favorite pastimes is finding objects--pieces of what would otherwise be considered trash--and using these objects to alter and make impressions in clay. I create my own stamps in a variety of ways, including hand casting twigs and other natural materials into porcelain, which I then use to make the impression in the clay. Found objects, such as old type sets and antique tools, are often used directly as stamps. I love how otherwise seemingly inane objects can elevate a piece of pottery, giving it both texture and beauty. Discovering these objects provides inspiration for the type of piece upon which the impression will be displayed.

I throw on both an electric and treadle wheel and continue to expand my hand building designs. My pieces are high fired, either in a gas kiln to cone 10 or in a wood kiln, and therefore are non-porous and very durable. All glazes are non-toxic and lead free. My pottery is food safe and may be used in the dishwasher and microwave.

The majority of my work is sold at shows and neighborhood markets in and around Washington, DC. A few items can be purchased at select retailers. If you are interested in carrying JohnRileyPottery in your store, please message me.
My website:

I genuinely enjoy meeting and communicating with customers in person, via Etsy, and through social media. I feel honored that my pieces are used as customers prepare family meals, spend time with new and old friends, and nourish themselves. Take a look around and let me know if something catches your eye. If you would like to be added to my mailing list for information about future shows, send me a message with your email address.

Shop members

  • John Riley

    Owner, Maker

Shop policies

More information

Last updated on Oct 26, 2016
Frequently asked questions
Care Instructions

With pieces that are used in the oven, care should be taken not to expose the pottery to extremes in temperature change. For example, a bread baker or pie plate should be left to cool completely before washing or placing in the refrigerator. As my stoneware pottery is not flameware, pieces should not be used on the stove top or next to a direct flame or heating element.

​All glazes that I use are non-toxic and lead free. My pottery is food safe and can be used in the dishwasher and microwave.

Shipping & Handling

All of the pottery listed in my Etsy shop is ready-to-ship. Unless my shop is on vacation, orders typically ship via USPS within 3 business days of being placed and will arrive in 2-4 days (weather permitting). Orders placed after the close of business on Thursday typically ship the following Monday.

Packaging and insurance are included in the cost of shipping. Buyers will receive tracking information within 24 hours of shipping. As part of my personal effort to minimize waste, your order may arrive in a previously used box.

If you require expedited shipping, please contact me for a quote. I am unable to hand deliver purchased items. From time-to-time, I can arrange in-person pick up at my home/studio.

Handcrafted Pottery

As with all handcrafted goods, slight variations in size and design will occur. While pieces are similar (including sets) they are each unique and in no way identical. With gas-fired pieces, natural conditions in firing atmosphere and glazes will yield some variation in color or glaze finish, and with wood-fired pieces, the result is truly unknown until the kiln is unloaded. To many, these variations add to the charm, look, and feel of each item. This is all a part of what makes handmade ceramics so special.