Joann began her studies in ceramics as an art major at Santa Rosa college with Gene Yates for 4 years and continued with another 2 years of classes at Ventura college under the direction of Jim Danish and lab assistant Lola Long. It was through this meeting in Ventura that she was introduced to the Ojai Foundation where Jim and Lola were offering a workshop in adobe brick making in 1982. Jim Danish became her teacher and mentor in ceramics and primitive pit fire techniques.
She found inspiration in the creative process found in transforming the elements of nature found in the earth, water, fire and air in the world of pottery. She facilitated private clay workshop retreats at the Ojai Foundation pottery studio for 3 years before the Thomas fire came and destroyed the studio in December 2017. Ironically, Joann had just joined the Firestick pottery studio as a working member two weeks before the destructive fire where she is grateful to found a creative refuge and continues to enjoy teaching and sharing her love of the craft with others.