Posted by: cassymuronaka | March 13, 2009

Ceramic Guitar Hero

It shouldn’t be, but it’s sometimes surprising when creative people who are successful in one area prove to be equally talented in another. Singer-songwriters Joni Mitchell and John Mellencamp have painted for many years, as have actors Kirk Douglas, Jane Seymour, Dennis Hopper, and Viggo Mortensen.

Jeffrey Carlick is that kind of person. I met Jeff through my husband, David. The two attended Cal State Fullerton together, and budded as photojournalists on the college newspaper. Jeff, who is one of those people who can rub his stomach and pat his head at the same time, also reported and wrote stories. And he was David’s Best Man at our wedding.

For a couple of decades now, Jeff has specialized in sports photography, carving out a career as a freelance photographer, which truly is like being able to rub your stomach, pat your head, tap dance, and drive a car at the same time. Freelancing anything for a living is just that hard.

During the same years that Jeffrey Carlick has been visually chronicling the Art of the Game, he also has been steadily turning himself into a fine ceramic artist. In the beginning, there were pots, vases and bowls. I have one of the latter in my kitchen, where it periodically goes center-stage to showcase an enormous salad that I have made for a holiday meal.

Many of Jeff’s large Raku vases decorate his Redwood City, California, houseboat. Even in the dark it is easy to spot that moored vessel.


Jeff next began making comical ceramic cars, train engines and trucks. I first viewed some of these in their greenware state in his Palo Alto studio, which was then a wonderful bit of public artists’ housing that he shared with two other potters amid towering Redwood trees.



But he really hit his stride with the guitars, and these increasingly have been exhibited in galleries. Each of the life-sized stringed instruments he designs, glazes and fires is modeled on the iconic guitar of an equally iconic musician. These include Pete Townsend, John Lennon, Bruce Springsteen, Eddie van Halen and Jerry Garcia, among others.



I haven’t even come close to saving enough acorns to afford one of these prizes yet, but I fantasize that some day I’m going to be able to commission Willie Nelson’s “Trigger, ” complete with the wrecked sound hole and celebrity signatures all over it.

(Portrait and guitar photos were shot by Jeffrey Carlick)



  1. […] blame it all on Jeff Carlick, a photographer and ceramic artist, highlighted in a previous post here. I am not a tea drinker, and usually have my arms firmly wrapped around a bag of Peet’s […]

  2. […] profiled Jeff and his fantastic ceramic guitars not too long ago. He also was mentioned in my musings on the tea to which he got me […]

  3. I am interested in acquiring a large vintage ceramic car that I am going to use at my wedding for the guests to deposit their card gifts. Is this something you may be able to help me with?

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