a collage of three different pictures of pottery

“I have always been a perpetual maker. This started while watching my dad, an amateur sculptor, in our basement in New Rochelle, New York,” said local potter Bev Blitzer. “My basement was my haven. I spent many hours down there just playing with all the materials.

“It was so easy with all these tools and supplies readily available. In kindergarten, I made my first clay piece, a horse head, by squeezing and shaping the clay with my hands,” she continued. “It was love at first sight. I was first attracted to colors when an interior designer would show my mother fabric samples. They were so textural and vibrant with endless combinations.”  

Blitzer creates a unique style of pottery that feels more like a three-dimensional version of a Joan Miro or Henri Matisse painting. Her artwork has an abstract and surreal feel to it and really isn’t quite like any other type of pottery you might see. 

Blitzer’s father, Mat Strumor, and his artist friends encouraged her to refine her talent. Strumor was an amateur sculptor who migrated to the Florida Keys and was a friend of legendary Keys artist Millard Wells.   

“I spent many hours in the basement with my dad, experimenting with tools and materials. It was from him that I learned to stretch beyond my comfort zone as there are no ‘wrong’ answers,” Blitzer said. 

When she was in high school, her dad invited her to join him in a private sculpture class in New York City. It was there that she was encouraged to pursue an art career.

Blitzer went to school at Salve Regina College in Newport, Rhode Island, where she furthered her education in pottery. Although enrolled in advertising, she was fortunately able to enroll in advanced ceramics courses. Her experience included building a soda kiln and firing in soda, wood and gas. 

“This enhanced my knowledge and abilities considerably and gave me an all-encompassing clay knowledge,” she said. “Porcelain allows me to work with colors and have the tactile sensations of sculptural construction.”  

She would gain notice with her style of colored porcelain — her preferred medium, as it combined the sculptural freedom provided by clay with painting’s emphasis on color.

Blitzer moved to the Upper Keys seven years ago, and this transition changed her palette of colors from gray and brown to tropical hues of aqua and green. The beauty of the Florida Keys worked their usual magic and added another level of depth to Blitzer’s art. 

“It’s hard not to wake up each day with a smile ready to be inspired,” she said. “Success as an artist is a byproduct; you need to enjoy what you’re doing. I make it for myself to discover if I can and continue to answer the question ‘what if?’

“If I change this or that or make something bigger or smaller, there’s always something discovered, and more questions are revealed,” Blitzer continued. “I think of porcelain clay as alive until it is fired for the first time. In this state, it can be manipulated, changed and enhanced. Once the clay is fired, it is only possible to make superficial applications of color. I prefer an integrated process rather than working in separate stages.”Blitzer’s pottery can be found locally in Islamorada at Jessica Ann Gallery, Morada Clay and by appointment in her studio. She can be contacted at

William DePaula
William DePaula is an artist, designer and gemologist who believes in the power of art. From his early childhood onward, he has never stopped drawing, painting and creating. He envisions a world in which beauty is as important as function, where culture and history are respected, and where nature is at once powerful and vulnerable. Infusing an essence of life in all his paintings, DePaula understands beauty is accessible to all. DePaula's art has been featured in select art museums around the world.