Why This Ceramicist Turns To Restaurant Menus To Drive His Designs


Shallow ceramic bowls featuring a blue ombre design by Jered Nelson

Over the past two decades, Jered Nelson has transformed his pottery business from a side gig into a global operation. After honing his skills at Heath Ceramics in Sausalito, and landing a number of private hospitality commissions, Nelson turned his attention to Jered’s Pottery full time in 2010. Today, his team produces up to 600 pieces per week, namely commissions for hotels and restaurants both near and far. 

The South Dakota native encourages visits to his Emeryville studio, where an opening night menu may be the jumping-off point for a new piece. Nelson works closely with clients to understand their vision and the dining experience they seek to create, asking such questions as, “How do you plate? What are the colors in the restaurant?” 

Nelson’s ceramics are available in his gallery and online shop. “The retail we get is usually people who go to one of the restaurants, turn over the pieces and see my name,” he says. “I love to hear that people have had a good experience with my work.”