Michele Michael is the creative force behind Elephant Ceramics, whose artisanal pieces emanate that irresistible beauty of imperfect, hand-made objects. The organic shapes, rich in textures, as well as palette of blue shades of her bowls, tables and plates reflect the tidal pools and exotic rock formations found along the coast of Maine – this artisan’s home and, without a doubt, an incredible source of inspiration in her work.
The joy of making my work is the process, and experimenting along the way. (…). I want to make each one of my pieces. I want to be the one touching the clay and mixing my own glazes.
However, the idea of creating her own brand of ceramics, initially emerged more by necessity than by vocation. As a prop stylist for lifestyle editorials it was always hard to find the right pieces that would fit perfectly into her vision and, thus, she decided to create her own designs. A practical approach also inherent in her pieces, which, a priori, stem from a clearly functional idea. “I (…) think about the end use of my pieces and making sure it’s something I would want to serve food on for the guest’s at my table.”, she tells us via mail. Nevertheless, and despite the fact that practicality prevails when it comes to her ceramics, Michele truly enjoys the creative process and, especially, the experimentation involved in the production of her works. Just like a painter she applies the glaze to her ceramic and porcelain forms, thereby, letting in a healthy dose of chaos and spontaneity. Consequently, at this moment, she is not really interested in a larger production. “The joy of making my work is the process, and experimenting along the way. (…). I want to make each one of my pieces. I want to be the one touching the clay and mixing my own glazes.”
With the rich ceramicist culture that is intrinsic to Japanese identity, it’s no surprise that Michele dreams of traveling to the island and visiting some of the great pottery centres in Kyoto, Bizen, Karatsu and Hagi. From there, as he confesses, she’d like to go on exploring and creating a new series of works, that, so we predict, can’t be nothing but irresistible.
Images by Philip Ficks