10 Questions to the Artist – Michael Imes

Throughout June, C2C is featuring an exhibit of work by the highly-regarded ceramics artist, Michael Imes. Now a resident of Wisconsin and a Ceramics Instructor at Carroll University, Michael has been a studio artist for more than forty years, and has kindly made time (and no doubt cleaned his hands!) to answer our “Ten Questions to the Artist”.

Ceramics Artist, Michael Imes

To any of us who enjoy and appreciate Art, it’s always fascinating to get a glimpse into what an artist thinks, what influences them, and how they approach their own work… You can read Michael’s answers below, and see his work in-person at C2C until the end of June.


What turns you on creatively, spiritually, or emotionally?

I am almost always involved in a relationship with clay. By that I mean I usually have work in progress, exploring vessel forms. I feel most connected spiritually when I am completely focused on whatever activity is at hand. I am fed emotionally through my connections with family and friends, and my interactions with other people. I enjoy music too; my feeling life is nourished by it.

Do you have an influence or theme that guides your work?

 Hexoid (overhead)I have a lot of influences: nature, geometry, the clay work of ancient cultures (Neolithic, Assyrian, Summerian, Chaldean, Babylonian, Mycenean, Minoan, Wari, Moche…), and I really enjoy exploring vessel forms, their formal relationships, and the archetypal gestures inherent in those forms.

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

I have enjoyed teaching and playing music could be interesting as a profession.

What profession would you not like to do?

I wouldn’t want to do anything illegal and I wouldn’t last long working in a factory or sitting in an office all day.

Who are your favorite artists?

Van Gogh, Da Vinci, Michaelangelo, Rodin, Laura Ross, Hans Coper, Harris Deller, Richard Devore, Chris Gustin… (I have a lot of favorites, especially a lot of ancient potters whose names I’ll never know.)

What is your favorite tool used to create your work?Anagama Bulb Vase-sm

There are three: my hands, a banding wheel, and a kiln.

What is your favorite word?

I don’t have a favorite word.

What is your least favorite word?

All words are useful and powerful, depending on how you use them.

Who is your favorite musician?

Robert Johnson, Lyle Lovett, Lucinda Williams, John Hiatt… there are a lot.

How much formal education have you received? Related to your craft.Michael Imes

I received an MFA in clay, from Southern Illinois University – Carbondale. I’ve learned a lot about vessel making from: Terry Dennis, Bill Clark, Harris Deller, Paulus Berensohn, and Chuck Hindes. I’ve gotten to learn a lot about firing wood kilns from: Ron Knight, Josh Gold, Jeff Naska, Gary Hootman, Joe Molinaro, Randy Becker, and Chuck Hindes.

Thank you very much to Michael for taking the time to answer our questions.  Please stop in to see his wonderful pieces in the gallery through the remainder of June.