JoAnne Bedient

Originally from SW Virginia and a resident of Fort Myers since 1980, Jo Anne Bedient has emerged as one of Southwest Florida’s premier clay artists.  Perhaps best known for her ceramic shoes, she blends realism and fantasy in her inventive designs.

Bedient and her husband Perry attended Fort Hays State University in Hays, Kansas, and she graduated in 1977 with a degree in ceramics.  After the arrival of their first daughter later that year, child raising took precedence over clay.

When she returned to ceramics in the late 1980s, Bedient maintained her preference for hand-building pieces instead of using a potter’s wheel, but discovering raku firing revolutionized her work.  This Japanese technique involves removing red-hot pieces from the kiln and placing them in combustible material.  Smoke permeates the clay and glazes, creating luster, crackle patterns, and richly textured colors.  Each firing produces unique results, and the continual experimentation of this method inspires the artist’s dramatic, whimsical, and graceful works.

Bedient’s work can be found in juried shows as well as galleries around the United States. Notable exhibitions include the Really Big Shoe Show in St. Louis and a Washington DC exhibit for the 2000 presidential inauguration.