Joan Gardiner

Joan Gardiner studied at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore. In 1973, after developing her craft as an apprentice to Jill Hinckley in Washington, D.C., she moved to Unison. A black-smithing barn standing close by the house was converted into her clay studio by her husband, the writer John Rolfe Gardiner.

During the school year Joan leads art instruction in a local youth outreach program, Teen Saturday, hosted by The Hill School in Middleburg. The curriculum includes a kite-making project and her students enter their creations in the Smithsonian’s Kite Festival on the National Mall each spring where they have won many awards.

Joan’s work with honeybees has led to the management of 20 colonies. She is an active member of the Loudoun Beekeepers Association and a mentor. Learn more at Unison Honey.


Working with Joan

Joan's work is in homes, businesses and public buildings across the region. Libraries, community centers, bars and restaurants, and unique kitchens and baths delight and often educate everyone who sees them.

Her custom tile work begins with a consultation by appointment in her studio. She collaborates with clients on design, color, surface (relief or flat), type of clay, and kiln techniques – from reduction-fired stoneware to majolica, delft, or frost-proof exterior pieces. Each commission is unique. Contact Joan for more information.

What Clients are Saying

“Joan created for our farmhouse kitchen a stunning tribute to my husband’s passion for gardening by capturing a freshly harvested bunch of garlic in beautiful tiles that frame the wall above the stove. This is only one example of the many and varied works Joan does for people looking for something unique and personal to incorporate into their day to day environment. Her whimsical tiles make wonderful gifts, from a series of tiles that tell a tale of some historical allegory to a custom portrait of a beloved pet. You will love her work, it’s very, very special!” – Laura Campbell, Former Associate Librarian of Congress

“Working with Joan is a delight. Her artwork connects people with the community, the natural environment, and other people's life stories. In my years of working with Joan on various projects, I always feel inspired by her boundless creativity, compassion for the world, willingness to listen to and guide her clients, intellectual curiosity, ability to translate her artistic vision into works that are functional, beautiful, meaningful, and durable, and her utter trustworthiness and dependability. I wholeheartedly recommend Joan.” – Chang Liu, the Loudoun County Public Library Director

In the news

Middleburg Eccentric

Loudoun Now