About the Artist
Creating functional pottery is Melissa’s dream deferred. As an elementary school kid growing up in Eugene, Oregon, she dreamed she would one day be “a potter who lives in the woods.” Thirty years later, after a career in teaching and talent development, Melissa has once again returned to this creative aspiration. The occasional East Austin pine tree suffices for the woods for now.Melissa finds frequent inspiration in the landscape and sounds of an ever-changing Austin and as a mom of two. She focuses particularly on painted porcelain objects and soda fired objects for everyday use in the home. From a renovated antique shed at the rear of her property in East Austin and classes at East Side Pot Shop, Melissa seeks to use clay to capture the fleeting everyday moments of family and nature that surround her.
I am enamored of the way ceramics forces me to operate in the present moment and with regard to the future simultaneously. Just like being a mom. Each of the phases of the clay--wet to leather hard, then bone dry, bisqued, and glaze fired, requires a careful treatment uniquely matched to the current state. Opportunities and disappointments are plentiful at each stage. I love that pottery demands of me an ever-vigilant effort to meet these moments with present-mindedness. And at the end, the final product is an object of such permanence that our earliest remnants of human civilizations are pieces of the pottery our ancestors used in their kitchens. This reality is a beautiful parallel to the act of being a mother. The small moments that make up each day with my young children are temporary and transitional, just as the phases of clay. The joys and challenges are interspersed with great frequency. In the end, my greatest wish for my children is that the accumulation of every experience and every memory leads to a life of inner happiness and the resilience to withstand any challenge. I love to use the medium of ceramics to transfer the brief and seemingly forgettable moments of motherhood into tangible, useable everyday items of permanence. It is enchanting to me to how a first word, a favorite toy, and a blooming plant can become a plate, a cup, a vase, a jar, transforming from the fleeting to the lasting. My wish is that every objects provides this joy for its holder upon each use.