The Soluble Salt Ceramics of Mark Goudy and Liza Riddle


Mark Goudy and Liza Riddle are a couple from Berkeley, California who are blazing a new frontier in ceramic arts with their explorations into the applications of soluble metal salts.

I suppose it could almost be expected with backgrounds covering photography, biology, engineering, chemistry, music and graphics and a love of the outdoors that their work in ceramics would be organic, technical, innovative and experimental . Says Mark, “The process of working in clay is a grounding experience that focuses my attention in the present moment, but also is a tangible thread that connects across time with twenty thousand years of ceramists who preceded me.”

Liza Riddle Ceramic Bottle

Vessel v56 – Liza Riddle

Liza Riddle Ceramic Bottles

Liza Riddle

Mark Goudy Ceramic Sculptures

Mark Goudy

Mrak Gourdy Five Forms

Five Forms – Mark Goudy

Mark Goudy’s approach :

He described his signature technique in Ceramicsnow: “My work is an exploration in shape and pattern, using the enclosed vessel as the underlying form. These vessels are constructed from asymmetric curved surfaces that project a unique contour with each viewing angle. The interior space is intentionally hidden, leaving the contents to the imagination, metaphorically containing perhaps hopes, dreams, or spirits. These rounded shapes are meant to be held and, when set on a flat surface, gently rock before coming to rest at their own natural balance point.My approach is to combine ancient methods of stone-burnishing and earthenware firing with computer-aided shape design to produce talismans that fuse traditional and modern aesthetics. Surface markings are created by painting water-soluble metal salts on bisque-fired clay. These watercolors permeate the clay body, and become a permanent part of the surface when fired. “

” After a twenty-year engineering career, working in the virtual world of computer chip design, I found the process of clay work to be a catharsis. The physical nature of handbuilding unique pieces from this plastic medium was immediately satisfying. Soon I was applying my analytical and problem-solving skills to the multivariate issues that surfaced in the clay studio, and exercising my right brain to construct shapes in a totally intuitive way. “

In summing up his future direction , Mark said – One of my favorite quotes is from Johnny Cash who said, “Your style is a function of your limitations, more so than a function of your skills”, and this seems especially true with the processes I’m involved with. So far, my work has been largely vessel-based, but in future, I expect to branch out into some other areas.


To me the array of patterns in Mark Goudy’s ceramic pieces seem to encapsulate a mini cosmos, like staring into a clear night sky. So I wasn’t surprised to see Mark stating that his pieces remind him of mandalas, with their inherent meditative potential.

Mark Goudy Ceramic Art

Mark Goudy


Mark Goudy Ceramic Art

Mark Goudy


Liza Riddle’s approach :

” I seek to create work that evokes a sense of wonder and mystery, forms that beckon to be held and admired.  I delight in closely observing and then interpreting natural objects and events – weathered boulders on a mountain slope, wind ripples on a gray blue sea, complex designs on a delicate bird egg – their rhythms, patterns and forces have greatly inspired my work.  I am an avid traveler and hiker.  During my adventures I have discovered the magnificent pottery of ancient cultures in the American Southwest, South America, and Asia, which speak to me in very profound ways.”    

” I have been experimenting with soluble metal salts for the past two years, a collaboration with my husband, Mark Goudy, which draws on the inspirational work of the master of soluble metals, Arne Åse. Through trial and error, I have developed my own techniques for applying these almost transparent, highly sensitive “watercolors.” The chemicals are toxic and care must be taken while working with them, so my experiences working with photography chemicals and in a scientific laboratory have been extremely helpful. Although metal salts are challenging to work with, I love the sense of anticipation as I wait for a kiln load to finish firing, the joy of seeing their almost magical effects. Some results are disappointing, but I enjoy challenges. Because working with metal salts requires continual testing, inventing and learning, I am certain this project will keep me engaged for quite a long while. ”  [ ceramicsnow ]

All of her work is hand coiled, then carefully burnished to a smooth finish.  This is followed with  bisque firing the clay at earthenware temperatures, painting them with water soluble metals – iron, nickel, cobalt and other salts, and firing again at low temperatures.

Liza Riddle Ceramic Bottles

Two Vessels  (v85, v86) – Liza Riddle

Liza Riddle Vase

Liza Riddle

Vessel v61 – Liza Riddle

Mark Goudy Five Surfaces

Five Surfaces –  Mark Goudy

Mark Goudy Soluble Metal Salt glaze

Mark Goudy

Liza Riddle 3 bottles

Three Vessels – Liza Riddle

Liza Riddle

Liza Riddle 3 Vases

Three Vases – Liza Riddle

Mark Goudy

Mark Goudy 3 sculptures

Three Vessels – Mark Goudy

Liza Riddle

Website of Mark Goudy/Liza Riddle  :




1 Comment

  1. carolyn durbin
    Posted January 10, 2016 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    I found a piece in tenn. ,bottom is marked riddle 73, this piece may be from the force series. can you give me any info? I am not a collector, I just loved the piece

One Trackback

  1. By Cruising thru the clayniverse on October 8, 2017 at 6:39 pm

    […] ‘The Soluble Salt Ceramics of Mark Goudy and Liza Riddle’ […]

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared.