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Michele Michael

How did you start Elephant Ceramics?

In 2010 I took my first class at a little pottery studio in my neighborhood in Brooklyn. Right off I discovered I loved working with clay. As a prop house owner, I was constantly searching for unique tableware for our customers. Sometimes you have a vision of something and you just can’t find it. This gave me an opportunity to make the very pieces I couldn’t find. The response to my early work was so positive that it encouraged me to launch my collection within a year of my first lesson.

Where do you find your inspiration?

Living with nature near the coast of Maine, influences my color palette and penchant for the color blue. Tidal pools, especially, hold a fascination for me with their diversity of sea life, color, form and reflection. 

What artists & places have influenced you?

Hans Cooper, Sonia Delaunay, Frida Kahlo, Christiane Perrochon ….Rome, Venice, St. John, Mexico City, Jaipur, Copenhagen, Essaouira …and Maine, of course.

How has your previous experiences shaped your aesthetic?

I have been a decorating editor for House & Garden magazine, worked as a freelance prop stylist and owned a prop house in Manhattan. I feel lucky to have started my career at H&G where I was exposed to high end, sophisticated design and interiors. My very first photo shoot was with the fashion photographer Horst at Mark Hampton’s home in East Hampton. It was quite memorable because we drank wine at lunch, and Horst asked me to arrange some fresh cut English garden roses. 


Tell us about your process -

In the summer I open all the windows in my studio so that I can hear the song birds (in the winter I crank up my music. ) I don’t really do any preplanning. I roll out my clay and work with the shapes that emerge. I shape everything by hand, sometimes using drape molds that I made specifically for my work. I work in small batches. The process is very organic and, as a result, no two pieces are the same.

How does your work reflect your personal style?

My work is handmade and imperfect, rich in texture and color. Mostly blue.

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