I focus on thoughtful design, quality of form, and subtle finishes to create pottery that expresses the nature of the materials. I am fascinated with the serendipitous interaction of form, clay, glaze, and fire that provokes unanswered questions that reveal themselves with functional use. I create depth of surface using textured clay, layered glazes, wild clay, wood ash, and fire and heat from the kiln, emphasizing connection to location. My pottery is thrown on a wheel or formed by hand. Functional pots are trimmed, bisque fired, and glazed using hand mixed glazes in an earthy, calm palette. Alternative fired pots are burnished and fired in a metal barrel, using layers of straw, pine needles, seaweed, copper, and salts to achieve a beautiful organic surface.
My pottery is the result of my creative thoughts, observations, curiosity, and experimentation. I labor to express myself with clarity, increasing my technical knowledge as my vocabulary. The full completion of the process occurs when the work is used and enjoyed.
Michelle spent her childhood hiking, camping, berry picking, wood gathering, skiing, and being immersed in the outdoors. She was born in Coeur D’ Alene, Idaho, spent her early childhood in Alaska, and grew up in Bonners Ferry, Idaho. Michelle first worked with clay at Bonners Ferry High School in 1989. She then took clay classes for a year at Whitworth College.
A touchstone moment occurred in 2010. Michelle began learning studio pottery from Adam Scoggin of Blue Heron Pottery, in Cheney, Washington. Adam studied for three summers at Pond Farm with Marguerite Wildenhain. Marguerite taught her students the strict discipline and dedication she learned at the Bauhaus in Germany. Adam passed these lessons on to Michelle. She threw pots daily for an entire year and did not keep any. Adam then taught her about glazing and firing. He modeled how to create a life as a studio potter and is a close friend and mentor.