Saying Yes to Infinite Possibilities | Forrest Lesch Middelton | Episode 193

Forrest Lesch Middelton | Episode 193

Forest Lesch Middleton


Forrest Lesch Middelton works in Petaluma, CA. Forrest’s extensive background as an arts educator, administrator, and studio potter has recently gained him recognition as a diverse and inspirational member of the ceramic arts community. Forrest is the Former Ceramics Program Director of Sonoma Community Center, and is currently the President of the Association of Clay and Glass Artists of CA. In 2013 Forrest was named the Ceramic Artist of the year by Ceramics Monthly, and this year is the recipient of a Creative Work Fund grant for his work with the Islamic Cultural Center of Oakland. Forrest’s pots have been featured on the on the cover of Ceramics Monthly magazine, and recently his architectural tile has won great acclaim, having been featured in The New York Times, Architectural Digest, Luxe, and Sunset Magazine. Forrest has been an Artist in Residence at Project Art in Massachusetts, the Mendocino Arts Center, and the Watershed Center for Ceramic Arts, in Maine.


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Forest Lesch Middleton Asal Tile Detail

What key ingredient do you need in your life to be a good mentor?


Forest Lesch Middleton Architectual Adorment


Because if I have a good amount of introspection I am going to ask myself the questions that are going to be pertinent to a better relationship with my apprentice or building a better relationship with the people who look up to me.

Forest Lesch Middleton 5 Yunomi Cups

What kind of characteristics are you looking for in a mentee?

The big one for me is work ethic. Boundaries. Where they are able to say, no I am not able to do that or yes, I can do that in the time frame that you set. The other one is eagerness. There has to be a level of eagerness so I am not sitting there trying to perpetuate their creativity.


Define for us what you think a strong work ethic looks like.

A drive to make the work no matter what else is going on in your life. You are going to show up on time and say yes to what’s put in front of you. A good work ethic also back to the idea of boundaries. If you are going  to work for me for 15 hours a week, I am not going to ask you to work 18 hours a week, and if I do and you say I can’t do it, I will be more respectful of you. It’s not only working hard but it is working hard and keeping your eye on what is important to you and your boundaries.


How do you market yourself?

I market myself as the byproduct of the quality of my work. I try to make the best work I possibly can. Then that hopefully creates enough inertia that things fall into place. That being said, I think galleries are a fantastic way to market.

Forest Lesch Middleton Jars

What do you want your children to catch from you?

I’d say my passion for what’s important to me. Learning to seek their passions without regret.

Forest Lesch Middleton Coffee Jar 

Book Cover

The Blood of Flowers

Book Cover

A History of the World in 6 Glasses


Instagram: @ForrestMiddelton

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  • Greta M Joachim

    Inspiring podcast. I especially like what you all discussed about poverty as opposed to prosperity in thinking.

  • Patrick Gibson

    Thank you Forrest and Paul. I really enjoyed your discussion. I am at a point in my work where I am searching for the next “thing” but I very much ascribe to the philosophy of finding inspiration through continuing to create; That just showing up and making is the best way of advancing and refining my personal aesthetic.