Stan Bitters Thumb Pots: Now Available from Modernica

Stan Bitters Thumbprint Pottery

If you’re at all familiar with Stan Bitters’s iconic work, you’ve probably seen his thumbprints pressed into his ceramics, from planters to wall-length sculptures. His rough-hewn, nature-inspired style is what made his work so unique and integral to the organic modern movement that began in the 1960s. Now, you can take home a piece of this fascinating history when you purchase a Stan Bitters Thumb Pot from Modernica, all of which are still hand-sculpted in Bitters’s Fresno studio.

The organic modernist craft movement began in the 1960s and was influenced greatly by the earthy, hand-crafted work of artists like Stan Bitters. Today, his mid-century work is still scattered across Southern California; his timeless sculptures and fountains are now valued as historic masterpieces. Indeed, Thumb Pots and ceramic pieces that were created by Stan Bitters in the ’60s and ’70s are sometimes auctioned today for thousands of dollars.

Modernica Ceramics

Luckily you can find his current pieces right here at Modernica, including Thumb Pots and Ceramic Birdhouses. Get a feel for the organic, rough-hewn quality of his work at our Los Angeles showroom, or visit to order.



Modernica’s 8th Day of Gifting: Stan Bitters Ceramic Birdhouse

Ceramic Birdhouse by Stan Bitters Our multi-colored array of Ceramic Birdhouses will enhance any outdoor space with charming, organic style. To remain true to our quest for authenticity, each birdhouse is hand-thrown in Stan Bitters’s own studio in Fresno, CA.  This is why no two birdhouses have exactly the same shape or size. Each ceramic masterpiece is as unique as the two hands that crafted it.

Four colors are available on our website, while a larger selection of colors at our Los Angeles Showroom. Order today for free standard shipping in the continental USA!

Birdhouse Arrangement from Stan Bitters

  Stand Bitters Ceramic Birdhouses

 *Offer is valid on orders shipping within the contiguous US; deliveries to Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico are excluded.

A Beautiful Flickr Set of 121 Photos of Stan Bitter’s Best Public Works In Fresno California by Jazz Portraits

Stan Bitters is internationally known for his unique sculptures, fountains, and massive installations. While constantly in demand with top Southern California designers and architects, much of his famous works are located in Stan’s hometown and current place of residence; Fresno. The hot and dusty city of the central valley of California.

In a city which is prominently known for agriculture and oil, through the years Stan Bitters has created unique sculptural clay tile wall reliefs for many buildings, clay fountains such as his ‘Dancing Waters’ on the Fulton Mall, and intricate metal sculptures such as the bronze doors for the Saroyan Theater. But perhaps he is best known for his massive colorful ceramic discs and tile works adorning the Duncan Ceramics building.

Please enjoy this extensive slide show of the best of Stan Bitters public works of Fresno by Jazz Portraits on Flickr. Thanks for sharing!

“Mister Big” Revered California Sculptor Stan Bitters Is Crazy About Clay – An Interview By Katie Lockhart – Home New Zealand Magazine May 2012

“Teacups don’t interest me,” says Fresno-based sculptor and designer Stan Bitters. While to most of us, ceramics mean cups, bowls and vases, household objects are not really Stan’s thing. “I need bigness. I like the large scale of things.” Drawn to clay while studying sculpture at UCLA in the late 1950s (it was cheaper than metal), it wasn’t long until Stan was a complete convert. “I started to do huge wall clay murals, making them on the floor in one piece and then cutting them into tiles, painting and firing them and then installing them.”

Stan’s large textural murals grace the walls of Californian banks, hotels and homes, while smaller works include clay fountains, birdhouses, and unglazed earthenware ceramics and screens. His book Environmental Ceramics even makes a case for incorporating clay into architecture, not just as decoration but as a structural medium.

“There is only one way to discover clay,” says Stan. “Get a ton or two and leap into it. In working with clay as a medium of expression, you must do it with your feet, with your hands, with your heart and mind. Jump into the middle and flail around. Take all the money you can get hold of, buy tons of clay, and wallow in it. Work your way out. Get involved in it. Start at one end and come out the other.”

On a recent trip to Los Angeles, I was lucky enough to visit the modernist home of Stan’s gallerist, Scott Nadeau, which is the perfect showcase for Stan’s work. Intrigued, I asked Stan to explain more about his unique style.

KATIE LOCKHART How did you learn your craft? Were you influenced by any particular ceramicist’s work early on?

STAN BITTERS Having wandered through the education system as a painting major, I was blown away by my encounter with the legendary sculptor, ceramist Pete Voulkos. Exiting San Diego State College after three years, and bored with having consumed so much superfluous education, I felt it was time to move on. It was coincidental that a friend, artist John Baldessari, was applying for entrance to Otis Art Institute and when I asked to go along, we both ended up on scholarships. It was my confrontation with the energy of the pottery department and specifically Pete Voulkos that changed my life.

KL: You call yourself an environmental ceramicist. Do you know of many other ceramists working in this way?
SB: I think because of what I did and the time period it was done in, my work has created interest in environmental concerns such as landscape and building applications that were not apparent before. I think because of my conceptual and philosophic approach in creating these undertakings, there isn’t another artist that performs in this way.

KL: How did your birdhouses came about?
SB: I picked out a corner of Pete’s studio with a wheel and started to play around. I asked Pete how to throw a closed ball. Without hesitation he leaned over and performed this magic. I later began producing that little statement that became the notorious birdhouse. Along with the development of the birdhouse came the classic thumb pot that many children create in grade school, but when the same activity is done at three to six feet in height, plus the addition of a large plant specimen, it suddenly takes command of the space and we have a living sculpture in a home environment. People can rationalise this kind of cost over a straightforward sculpture.

KL:How did you start designing on a larger scale?
SB: The encounter of Otis Art Institute then UCLA in 1958 and ‘59, during the period of art expression and abstract expressionism, laid the groundwork for my future. Arriving back home in Fresno I was immediately hired by the Hans Sumpf Company of Madera, California. Sumpf was the world’s largest producer of emulsified adobe brick and had started to test his production methods of making slump adobe brick. He had just bought a walk-in kiln to fire this new product and was eager to hire a ceramic artist and create a ceramics department – I was given access to 20 tons of clay and told to do something with it. My Germanic background of a strong […]

Stan Bitters Featured In Garden Design Magazine As A “21st-Century Caveman” With An Artist’s Touch — June 2012

Stan Bitters is a 21st-century caveman. In a windowless steel building on an industrial strip of Fresno, California, the 76-year-old sculptor shapes earth, water, and fire into primal ceramic forms. It is a ritual based more on instinct than intellectual precept. “It’s not about thinking about the clay,” he says. “It’s really getting in there and manipulating it—mashing it and beating it—until it produces some feeling of wonderfulness, something earthy and textural.”

Bitters’ art bears the mark of his own two hands, often quite literally. “Stan’s work is special because you can see the process,” says Pamela Shamshiri, a partner at the Los Angeles design collective Commune who has commissioned Bitters’ work for residential interiors, gardens, and the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs, California. “I mean, his thumbprints are in it.”

As a pioneer of the organic modernist craft movement in the 1960s, Bitters has been producing rough-hewn ceramic birdhouses, planters, pedestals, mural tiles, totems, boulder walls, and fountains for more than half a century. He has mesmerized architects, landscapers, and collectors from the start but was recently discovered by a hip new audience. Actress Cameron Diaz has a Bitters water wall at her beach house, and Commune commissioned him to create a group of two-story fireplaces that are focal points at the Ace Hotel. – read the entire story here…

This article and slideshow appeared in the Garden Design magazine June 2012 issue as “An Artist’s Touch.” by David Keeps

Big News! Modernica is excited to be offering Stan Bitters’s iconic ceramic birdhouses available for sale through our website and our Los Angeles Showroom.