Artwork you can use! ©
Shelby, Michigan (summer) Flint, Michigan (winter)
I have been making pottery since 1968 when I took my first clay class at the Flint Institute of Arts. Originally my mother had signed up to take the pottery class and then discovered she would have to get her hands dirty (which she preferred not to do) in order to work with clay. She offered to let me take her place and as they say, the rest is history. From the very beginning I have loved the smell, the feel, and the versatility of clay. Over the years, I have learned many lessons about how to work with clay and 50 years later I continue to love playing with fresh ideas to make new pieces that will bring pleasure to me and to others as functional works of art.
Now having my own studio in Shelby, Michigan, I find inspiration in nature that surrounds me. My studio is set in the wooded dunes on the shores of Lake Michigan. I enjoy the quiet of my studio nestled in the woods, just up from the lake. It provides me with a distraction-free space to give form to my ideas. My ideas seem to follow one from the other, changing over time as the pieces gradually evolve.
I create each piece of pottery individually, either by throwing it on a potter’s wheel, building it by hand, or combining both of these methods. I pay a great deal of attention to elegant forms that are both pleasing to the eye but work that is also functional. I value practicality and usefulness, so all of my pottery is intended to be used–in the kitchen, at the table, and in the home. All pieces are safe for the microwave, the table, the dishwasher, and even for the oven (when heated with the oven).
Glaze work is so important in finishing a pot. Again both beauty and function are considered as I finish a piece. The incredible beauty of Lake Michigan with its thousand shades of blue is a daily feast for my eyes and has inspired one of my favorite glazes, which I call “Lake Michigan Blue”. I have worked to perfect my glazing favoring many shades of blue, purple, and turquoise and also brighter colors like copper red. More recently, I have enjoyed the interplay between glazed surfaces and exposed raw clay as I explore the earthiness of the clay coupled with the refined surface of glaze.
Over the years I have participated in many art fairs and art shows. My work has been recognized with various ribbons and awards. However, I prefer at this time to show or sell my work through galleries, although I continue to do a very successful one-day annual sale in Stony Lake in Oceana County. Pottery continues to be a most interesting and satisfying part of my life. I truly cannot imagine my life without a connection to clay.
For a more detailed account of Cheryl’s connection with clay, read the Oceana Herald-Journal article here.