About the Artist

While growing up in Kansas City, Michelle was introduced to clay at a young age by her best friend's dad, Lee Slusher, who is a functional potter. Some of her fondest memories are of accompanying Lee to local art shows to help out. Her love for ceramics further developed in high school art classes with teacher Greg Brantman. He introduced her to alternatives for the traditional glazing techniques including raku and "trashcan pitfires." Michelle earned a Bachelor of Science in Art Education from Southwest Missouri State University. While there she was supported by her ceramics professor Keith Ekstam in her crazy ideas of doing firings involving leaves, dryer lint and other combustibles in a large metal ring behind the ceramics studio. After graduating, Michelle moved to Tucson, Arizona. Itching to do work in clay and not having the facilities to work or fire, she took a parks and recreation class on primitive firing with Tim Ballingham. She found her niche. Her burnishing and pitfiring techniques took shape. Another great influence in Michelle's clay life is Molly Prier, a fellow burnish and pitfire potter. Through a workshop given in Pt. Reyes, CA, Molly expanded Michelle's techniques and inspired her to continue evolving as an artist and business woman.
Michelle's metal work began in 2002 when she took a class in sculptural welding at Mesa Community College. Since then her teacher and mentor, Wayne Cundiff, has been a major influence: always pushing her to do a better weld and encouraging her creativity. After several semesters of Sculptural Welding class, she is now working on her own.