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Potter's Field: The Ceramic Art of Michelle Erickson

A solo exhibition of work by internationally recognized artist Michelle Erickson

April 12-May 31

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Internationally recognized artist Michelle Erickson continues her conceptual exploration of Potter’s Field; historically referring to fields used for the extraction of potter's clay and used as a burial site for unknown and indigent people, will explore the life cycle of world ceramics that documents human experience through a social, political and environmental landscape.







  • Check out Michelle's recent blog post ME @ V&A "Mover, Shaker, World Class Maker"
  • Michelle has been featured in many recent publications. Take a look at her website for a full listing and pdf's of the articles.
  • Michelle has also been featured in 3 films of her time at the V&A. These are wonderfully informative and beautifully made. Check them out on the V&A Channel.

Clay Art Center is pleased to present Potter's Field, a solo exhibition, featuring work by internationally recognized artist Michelle Erickson. Michelle Erickson will continue her conceptual exploration of Potter’s Field; historically referring to fields used for the extraction of potter's clay and used as a burial site for unknown and indigent people. The work explores the life cycle of world ceramics that documents human experience through a social, political and environmental landscape.

In addition, CAC will host a demonstration workshop with Michelle Erickson entitled "World Class Maker" on Saturday, May 10. Michelle will also give a Lecture: “Traditional Ceramics References in Contemporary Works” on Monday, May 12, 1:15 pm at the Bruce Museum, hosted by the Connecticut Ceramics Study Circle.

Michelle Erickson is internationally recognized for her mastery of lost ceramic arts during the age of exploration and colonialism. Ms. Erickson creates historical narratives about political, social, and environmental issues – both past and present- in her contemporary work. Regardless of time frame, Erickson’s works are distinguished by insightful commentary on the universal character of the human spirit. Her highly sought creations are in the collections of major museums in America and England. Ms. Erickson lectures widely and her body of scholarship concerning the rediscovery of seventeenth and eighteenth century ceramics techniques has been documented in several volumes of the annual journal Ceramics In America along with other publications and videos that now include three short films created during her tenure as Artist In Residence at the Victoria and Albert Museum in 2012.

In her lecture at the Bruce Museaum, Michelle will discuss her practice and her experience in London as “World Class Maker” within the context of contemporary ceramic art. Connecting the legacy of the colonial era through the art of making Ms. Erickson uses a depth of historical references to illustrate parallels through time. These include comparisons between the 18th century Staffordshire pottery industry and global design giant Nike, Wedgwood’s abolitionist ceramics and 21stdiscovery and obsession with fossils as prescient to our perilous addiction to fossil fuels. Her exploration of ceramic history has come to define Erickson’s career and has forged a path to a renaissance of contemporary ceramic artists peeking into the china closet of centuries past for inspiration.

About the Artist: Michelle Erickson has a B.F.A. from The College of William and Mary. Her contemporary ceramics in museums collections include The Chipstone Foundation, The Museum of Art and Design, The Long Beach Museum of Art, The New-York Historical Society, The Peobody Essex, Yale University Gallery, The Carnegie Museum, The Mint Museums, Seattle Art Museum, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Cincinnati Art Museum, Arkansas Art Center, The Potteries Museum Stoke on Trent, UK and the Victoria and Albert Museum London. Her work has been featured in numerous national and international publications. Erickson is renowned for her research into 17th- and 18th-century ceramic techniques published extensively in Ceramics in America and has lectured and demonstrated her work widely for scholarly groups and institutions. She has designed and produced ceramics for major motion pictures and HBO series John Adams. As Artist in Residence at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum in 2012 Erickson created three videos now on the V&A Channel the films were shown at Ceramic Arts London 2013 and the International Ceramics Festival UK. She received a Virginia Museum of Fine Arts 2013-14 fellowship. Michelle will give a Friday Focus presentation at The Metropolitan Museum of Art April 25th 2014 and opens her solo show at the Clay Art Center NY in April 2014.

Examples of her contemporary work are in the collections of the Mint Museum of Craft and Design; The Museum of Art and Design, NY; The Peabody Essex; The Long Beach Museum of Art; the Milwaukee Art Museum; The Chipstone Foundation; The New-York Historical Society; the Potteries Museums, Stoke on Trent; Yale University Art Gallery; The Carnegie Museum of Art; and the Victoria & Albert Museum, London. She has consulted on and designed ceramics for several major motion pictures such as The Patriot, The Time Machine, The New World and the recent HBO series John Adams. Also Ms. Erickson has co-authored a series of articles Illustrating her seminal work in the rediscovery of arcane ceramic techniques in the prestigious annual journal Ceramics in America edited by Robert Hunter and published by The Chipstone Foundation, Milwaukee WI.

About her work, Michelle says: “ I use a lot of references from ceramic history—both lost ceramic arts that have been rediscovered and techniques I looked into, and also the context of that history, of the social or political or environmental context of that history [as a way] to describe 21st century issues. So, I would say my work is narrative. It uses history as a way of looking at our present human condition.”

*Clay Art Center is located an easy walk from Metro North. There are always taxis available at the station. The average price of in-town travel is $5.

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