Mission & History

Higher Fire - History - Dan DermerMission

We hope everyone who visits Higher Fire will be invigorated and inspired with the tactile experience of clay.


Dan Dermer has been working in clay since 1981, when he began making wheel-thrown pottery at the age of 11. In the 1990's, he had a long hiatus from regular studio work, spending time instead in the high-tech environment of Silicon Valley. As a technical consultant, instructor and courseware developer, he traveled all over the world sprinkling high-tech knowledge on unsuspecting clients, all while fantasizing about life as a full-time artist working in clay.

In 2004 Dan finally gave up his high-tech day job to pursue the dream of becoming a full-time potter. Dan learned production throwing methods from master potter, Jeff Brown, which helped him fill dinnerware orders those first few years. Success was also seen in working and wholesaling for a few galleries, all while selling work at weekend art shows and via his web site.

By 2009, Dan also found he still loved teaching more than anything. The new dream was for a downtown studio that would offer classes to the downtown community and a gallery of fine ceramic artwork to the world at large… It would also be a warm, inviting hangout for friends in the art community. Following a long, exhaustive (and exhausting!) site search, the ideal location presented itself — a warehouse building in the city's South First Arts District.

In mid-2010, Higher Fire opened its doors at 499 S. Market Street in downtown San Jose. Today we offer 12 weekly classes on the pottery wheel, hand-building and sculpture. Higher Fire has 125 members and 75-80 students at any given time. We'd love to have you join us!

Come play in the mud… find your inner "clay geek"… and get inspired by the amazing teachers and students at Higher Fire!

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