Art Break: Studio Snapshot with Judith Amiel-Bendheim

Mike MeyerJune 1, 2018
Share This

Judith Amiel-Bendheim throws beautiful pottery in her backyard studio

photo by Angelina AragonIsraeli pharmacist turned full-time ceramicist Judith Amiel-Bendheim likes to make what she calls “utilitarian pieces,” or items that have real-world uses, such as cups, mugs and plates – but, most of all, bowls. “Every time I start to do something, I find myself making a bowl,” she says. “Because I love bowls. I love them very much! I love the fact that they contain everything. They contain the food, they contain the liquid, they contain everything. So I eat from bowls every day. Even salad I eat from bowls, even pasta – everything. Somehow, I say to myself, ‘Today I’ll make a bottle,’ but I finish with a bowl.” She creates her Ceramics by Judith line ( in her outdoor home studio, set in what has to be one of Arizona’s lushest backyard gardens.

The artist keeps a bucket of water nearby for cleaning her hands and making sure the clay stays moist in the dry desert air.

Amiel-Bendheim’s throwing wheel is attached to a table and operated by a foot pedal. She does most things left-handed, but the wheel requires right-hand dexterity, something her neurologist husband says is good for her brain.

Most of Amiel-Bendheim’s pieces have designs carved on the outside, and are smooth on the inside (pictured above). “I also like to give a little surprise, so always I put something on the bottom,” she says. “Like, ‘HELLO!!’”

She uses different sponges for different parts of the process – removing water, trimming and smoothing.

For more than 50 years, PHOENIX magazine's experienced writers, editors, and designers have captured all sides of the Valley with award-winning and insightful writing, and groundbreaking report and design. Our expository features, narratives, profiles, and investigative features keep our 385,000 readers in touch with the Valley's latest trends, events, personalities and places.