Simple and Chic From Stubborn Dog Pottery

Kristen Gentilucci pays homage to the outdoors through her rustic pottery.


Photo by Lance Yamamoto

When Kristen Gentilucci joined the Berkeley Art Studio to create pottery, she simply wanted to revisit the enjoyable hobby she had cultivated in college. It became an obsession. As a graduate in graphic design from UC Santa Cruz, she found her artistic voice rooted in her foundation in graphic design. Pottery brings it out into three-dimensional space. Today, Stubborn Dog Pottery boasts a line of mugs, bowls, spoons, and coffee pour-overs that celebrates the union of art and the natural world. The name comes from Gentilucci’s willful dog, Rusty, who hated to be left at home alone and, therefore, became a studio fixture.

On many pieces, the exposed white or terra cotta clay body—Gentilucci treats the bodies with oxides—gives each surface a rustic look and warm texture, while the bright pop of color is a reminder of the artist’s playful self-expression and love for color. Spoon handles, made from sticks found on hikes in the Sierra and on beach walks, contain unique details, with Gentilucci deriving inspiration from the stories the sticks tell through their smooth surfaces, creases, and contours created by weather or ocean or river water. She works with each one to accentuate its distinctive curvy shape, producing a unique homage to her love of the outdoors.

Stubborn Dog Pottery products can be found at Tara’s Ice Cream Shop (3173 College Ave., Berkeley) and Neeko (2505 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley). One of Gentilucci’s goals in creating her business was to make art accessible and has priced her items to fit many budget. Her most popular item, the small ice cream bowls, range from $10 to $15, while mugs and pour-overs go for $25 to $30, and spoons cost $35 to $55.

While Gentilucci said the Bay Area’s high cost of living makes it tough to afford an arts business, she also said there is nowhere else she would rather be, given the appreciation for art that East Bay residents have. Sure, it means she never stops working, but for her, that means always being creative. What could be better than that?

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