Inspired by ancient Anasazi and Mimbres potsherds, Michael began making south-western pottery. He digs clay in the Elk Mountains outside his studio in Snowmass, Colorado. The clay is filtered to remove rocks and debris and then hand coiled to form each piece. The pottery is then incised with metal tools to create the rhythmic texture and pattern. Each pot is a one-of-a-kind hand crafted work of art.
Since 1989 Michael has studied extensively with potters of the American Indian Pueblos and Mata Ortiz Mexico. Juan Quezada has been his most influential mentor. Michael’s genius and concern for craftsmanship have influenced all aspects of his work. After years of study under Juan’s tutelage, Michael decided to use these old techniques to create something new. These textured pieces are the results.
I look at the creative process as a collaboration between the raw materials found in nature and the artist (also from nature as we often forget). Each has a voice in the process. It is important to remember art as a collaboration and not an isolated egotistical event by man. Art is an expression of our connection to the natural world. Beautiful places create a mirror that reflects inside us and helps to draw creativity to the surface.
This work addresses the innovation of traditional pottery. Over the past Twenty-five years I have studied extensively under Juan Quezada and many matriarchs of the southwest pottery traditions. Initially, I was drawn to ancient ceramics by the harmonious fit between vessel form and decorative pattern. Following that fascination I experimented for years with painting.
Today my work continues investigating form and pattern using texture as the design element. I am fascinated with simple gestural shapes and how pattern evolves as it moves over the pottery surface. I enjoy the collaboration with outdoor Raku and bon-firing as they inject spontaneous elements into the work.
The source of my creativity is derived from contact with the natural world. Plants , flowers, clouds, any time spent in nature seems to hand deliver an inner ease that reaffirms our connection to everything. That connection resonates inside us collaborating with our life experience and moves us to express that beautiful feeling in a visible form. I love the process of being outdoors digging clay and forming these objects with my hands. This work is a reflection of daily life.