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Michelle Erickson '82

"I guess it all started with a critique that I didn't 'talk like an artist'..."

". . . My ego was bruised and my frustration with painting drove me to try my hand at clay. I signed up for ceramics, raku firing (whatever that was), under Marlene Jack in the Old Power Plant. When I first got there I felt like I had been sent to the island of misfit toys, but pretty soon it became clear we were the renegades, the outcasts of the Fine Arts Department. So I jumped in with both feet. Raku, it turns out, entailed dressing up in these space suit things pulling red hot pots out of 1,700 degree kilns and plopping them down into anything that would burn . . . needless to say, there was no turning back!"
About the Artist

Michelle Erickson graduated from William and Mary with a B.F.A. in Fine and Performing Arts. In addition to her contemporary ceramic work, she has more than 20 years of experience working with 17th- and 18th-century reproduction pottery. Her recreations and contemporary pieces have won critical acclaim internationally and been featured in national and international publications. As owner of Michelle Erickson Pottery, Inc., she reproduces ceramics from archeological and acquired collections for organizations such as Colonial Williamsburg, the National Park Service, Parks Canada, the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts, Philadelphia Museum of Art, and Historic Deerfield. She has lectured and demonstrated her workfor scholarly groups and institutions that include Williamsburg's Antiques Forum, Winterthur Collectors Circle, Sotheby's learning weekends, the Milwaukee Art Museum, the St. Louis Museum of Art, the University of Wisconsin and the British Museum and the Potteries Museums at Stoke on Trent. Examples of her contemporary work are in the collections of the Mint Museum of Craft and Design, The Museum of Art and Design, New York, 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 Museum , The Carnegie Museum of Art, The Seattle Art Museum, and the Victoria & Albert Museum , London.

Michelle has consulted on and designed ceramics for several major motion pictures, including The Patriot, The Time Machine, The New World and the current HBO series John Adams. She co-authored a series of articles illustrating her work in the rediscovery of arcane ceramic techniques in the annual journal Ceramics in America.

"Jamestown 2007" commissioned Michelle to create an original artwork in clay as the official gift presented to Queen Elizabeth ll during her visit to Jamestown, May 4, 2007, to commemorate the 400th anniversary of its founding.

Learn more about Michelle and her work.