Lee Middlmen Headshot


When I took my first class in ceramics, I immediately fell in love with the medium; its hands-on, three-dimensional qualities captured me. Since my college years when I worked as a commercial artist, I have been pulled to art as an alternative career path. Eventually I decided to leave my successful career in high technology to devote full time to ceramic art.

I am particularly interested in the organic interplay between order and randomness. While attending a workshop in Mashiko Japan, I had the privilege to meet Tatsuzo Shimaoka and his students. His work inspired me to explore textures in clay. I have developed a personal technique for deeply impressing textures into thrown cylinders with minimal distortion. When I shape the piece, from the inside only, the pattern evolves as the clay twists and expands.

More recently, I have begun to explore textures created using glazes and slips on natural clay surfaces. Hand-carving patterns on vessel surfaces has added a new direction to my work.


Career Summary

Earned college funding by working as a commercial artist. Over twenty-five years experience creating and directing product development leading to innovative and attractive products for the high technology industry and medicine.

Twenty-nine US patents and many foreign patents granted. Fifteen scientific publications. Professional ceramic artist participating in juried shows and exhibitions in the San Francisco Bay Area and local galleries.


Ceramics workshops in the USA, Mashiko and Shigaraki, Japan, Glencairn, Ireland, and Korea.

Ceramics courses at Palo Alto Art Center and Foothill College.

PhD Physics, Stanford University, Stanford, California. Woodrow Wilson Fellow, National Science Foundation Fellow.

BA Physics, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland


ACGA badge exhibitingAssociation of Clay and Glass Artists of California

  • Exhibiting Member
  • President (2003, 2004, 2005)
  • Board of Directors (2002-present)

Orchard Valley Ceramic Arts Guild
The National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts
International Ceramic Artists Association

  • North American Chairperson