Welcome to this next installment of Meet a Member!
In this post, we will meet Stephen Mickey! Thank you Stephen for sharing a bit more about yourself!
Name: Stephen Mickey
Years working with clay: 50 years
Type of work made: Pots for the kitchen
What region of the state do you live in? Southwest Washington, Clark County
Describe your process and materials: I work with a variety of kilns that include a new hybrid bourry box(fired once this fall with good results. I also use a cross draft soda gas fired kiln and an early model Geil 12 cubic feet updaft /downdraft
What is your favorite tool? My Leach wheel
Please share your favorite clay tips or trick: I teach one hand throwing.
Background: When and/or how did you get started working with clay? I started working in clay at the University of Minnesota as a premed major. One look at my instructor, David Standard, making a pot change my life and I said “that’s it, that is how I want to spend my life.” My sponsors i.e. my folks were not impressed, feeling that medicine would a better choice for a livelihood. They may have been right but I have not looked back and I got to catch of few babies a long the way.
How has your practice change over time? For most of my life I have been teaching full time and only in the last 5 years since stopping public service at Mt. Hood Community College have I had access to my studio daily as I wanted.
What jobs have you had other than being an artist? Did this influence your work at all? As a college instructor student provide such a deep reservoir of ideas to share and bounce around with.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given working with clay? Showing up is 90% of the struggle
What’s the best advice you ever gotten about creativity or being an artist? From Stephen DeStabler “ I believe in inspiration but I believe in being in the studio when it strikes”
What inspires you? My family, Nature and great pots.
How do you prepare to make your work? Drawing, research, etc. I’ll start with a making list usually and let the work guide me and focus my attention on particulars
Where do you feel most inspired? In the studio when the flow is right
What is your favorite tool? My Leach Wheel
What are your favorite forms to make and why? bowls , tea bowls and altered bottle forms
What’s the best advice you ever gotten about creativity? I believe in inspiration but I believe in being in the studio when it strikes”
What venues do you use for sales? Which are most successful? Mostly my holiday sale at my studio.I also take pots with me to sell while I am offering workshops. I usually take Yunomis and little whiskey cups to these events. I’m doing workshops in Hawaii at the Donkey Mill Art Center this February and am teaching for two weeks at laMeridiana in Tuscany for the first 2 weeks of May. This year I was invited to the St.Croix Valley Potters Tour which was a terrific sale . Very educated pottery buyers, Now that I am in the studio more I need to find another outlet for sales. I’m going to add a spring sale at home.
What social media platforms do you use and which are your most successful/favorite? I use Instagram (@stephenmickeypottery),email and Facebook mostly as an amateur. I know there is a lot of room for more creative use.
What is your best marketing tip? Make what you love, educate your clients about what it is you do and why . A newsletter on a regular basis helps people stay interested in you and your work.
What is your most popular item or what is your favorite item to make? My wood fired tea bowls give me the most pleasure to make and to finish