Lynn Mahon was born and raised in Sonoma County, and now maintains an active studio on the ridge of the Mayacamas Mountains, near the border between Napa and Sonoma counties. He studied at Sierra Nevada College and at the Penryn Workshop, where he mastered the art of firing in wood kilns. After several years experimenting with Raku in his San Francisco studio, Mahon returned to Napa, and began exploring large-scale sculpture fired in a gas kiln. He continues to make these massive thrown works, some of which weigh nearly six hundred pounds.
In 2005 Mahon introduced functional designs into his practice. The dinnerware he creates for restaurants is the result of lengthy collaborations between chef and ceramicist. His work appears in restaurants such as Mourad in San Francisco, The Restaurant at Meadowood in Napa Valley, Hana Japanese Restaurant in Rohnert Park, Michael Warring in Vallejo, Taylor Maid Farms in Sebastopol, Vintage Cave Honolulu, and Kapnos in Washington, D.C.
For Mahon, both the large-scale sculpture and the functional pieces are highly physical forms of making: the former activity is like a dance, and the latter is like a sport. Mahon’s philosophy is a mixture of California craft and Japanese Zen. His work is informed by a lightness of touch, simplicity, and an adherence to natural materials and form. Mahon has shown with the American Craft Council and is represented by Jiun Ho in San Francisco, Grandhand Gallery in Napa, and Bump Wine Cellars in Sonoma. Recent press and publications include A New Napa Cuisine, 7×7 magazine, and Bon Appétit.