About Michelle Erickson
View Michelle's Resume here
My career-long fascination with ceramic history during the period of Western exploration, expansion, and dominion began with exposure to archeological ceramics in the “colonial triangle” of Virginia. Fragments of British, European, Asian, and Native American pottery unearthed in early colonial excavations embody a remarkable global convergence of cultures in clay. My practice in the rediscovery of lost ceramic techniques and the context of this history define my approach as a contemporary artist. I use the depth of history through the art of making to draw parallels through time such as the 18th century Staffordshire pottery industry and global design giant Nike, Wedgwood’s abolitionist ceramics and 21st child slavery, the colonial discovery and obsession with fossils as prescient to our perilous addiction to fossil fuels. I make objects of the past from an imagined future in the present.
Michelle Erickson has a BFA from the College of William and Mary and is an independent ceramic artist and scholar. Internationally recognized for her mastery of colonial era ceramic techniques her pieces reinvent ceramic history to create 21st century social political and environmental narratives. Erickson’s works are distinguished by insightful commentary on the universal character of the human spirit. At mid career her art stands apart from much of the contemporary ceramic and craft community by its historical depth and technological virtuosity. Erickson’s highly sought creations have reinvigorated distinguished decorative arts collections by connecting past and present. Her pieces have been the first contemporary ceramic art acquired by the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, NY-Historical Society, The Chipstone Foundation and more. In 2003 the London Society of Contemporary Art acquired her work for the Potteries Museums 21st Century collections as exemplary of contemporary ceramic art influenced by the Staffordshire pottery traditions. Her pieces are in the collections of major museums in America and Britain that include the Museum of Art and Design NY, the Seattle Art Museum, the Potteries Museums Stoke on Trent and the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Ms. Erickson’s body of scholarship concerning the rediscovery of seventeenth and eighteenth century ceramics techniques has been documented in many publications most notably several volumes of the annual journal Ceramics In America. Ms. Erickson was commissioned to design and create the official gift to be given to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth ll during her historic visit to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown. The design and creation of this work Terra Nova is the subject of the cover article for the 2008 issue of Ceramics in America Fit For A Queen by Ivor Noel Hume OBE. Erickson has lectured and demonstrated her art at many institutions including the The Potteries Museums Stoke on Trent, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Milwaukee Art Museum, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art. She has designed and produced ceramics for many museums, institutions and collectors as well as major motion pictures such as The Patriot, and HBO’s series John Adams.
In 2012 Michelle was artist in residence at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London in the category of World Class Maker. During her tenure Ms. Erickson collaborated with Nike’s 2012 Olympic Track and Field Innovation and also composed three exciting short videos produced by the V&A in conjunction with the Chipstone Foundation. She received the 2013-14 professional artist fellowship from Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, was international guest artist at the North Devon Festival of Pottery UK in 2013 sponsored by the British Arts Council. She was presenting artist at the North Carolina’s Potters Conference 2014 and demonstrating artist at NCECA 2014. Ms Erickson was guest artist at the Metropolitan Museum’s Friday focus series “An Artist’s Perspective: The Robert Ellison Jr. Collection of French Ceramics” now online at MetMedia.
Selected exhibitions since 2014 include her solo show Potter’s Field at the Clay Art Center NY April 2014. The NCECA Invitational Exhibition Flow at Milwaukee Art Museum Feb - March 2014, and traveling exhibitions Enough Violence at the Society for Contemporary Craft, 2013-14 and Inciteful Clay 2014-2017. Erickson’s solo Exhibition Conversations In Clay was at Virginia MOCA May- August 2015.
Michelle recently completed 2016 spring and summer artist residencies at the Visual Arts Center in Richmond VA and at Starworks in Star and Seagrove NC. Her current solo exhibition project You &I Are …Earth is on view at Wilton House Museum, Richmond VA April 15 – Oct 30. Ms Erickson was one of 6 finalists selected for the Gibbes Museum of Art 1858 Prize.