The starting point for Michele’s work is always walking and sketching, getting inspiration from forms, patterns and textures in the world around – the mesh of branches on wintry trees, the geometric patterns in eroded rock faces or the intricate structures of pods, leaves and petals.
In the studio Michele works with a range of stoneware clays and enjoys the way the forms she builds are affected by the differences in structure of these clays. All her pieces are hand built using a range of techniques; pinching, coiling and slab building. Once the initial form is created, it goes through a series of manipulations – smoothing, paddling, refining – until she is happy with the shape. The piece is then allowed to dry slowly and during this phase the surface is altered by hand carving into the clay.
Once complete the form is allowed to fully dry over a period of several days. Sometimes oxides are brushed on before biscuit firing to 900C.
After the initial firing, Michele moves on to glazing the work. The glazes she uses are all made by her from dry ingredients which allows her to make subtle alterations to the opacity or gloss of the final glaze. The pieces are fired to around 1200C. The glazes are chosen for their texture and visual interaction with the clay and are mainly decorative in nature.
For Michele, the process of making is an absorbing and intuitive one. She hopes that the finished pieces also become objects of contemplation and enjoyment for others.