Mikey McGhee is our June 2014 artist. She is a ceramic artist originally from Alaska, currently residing in West Michigan. I was talking with Mikey as we set up her show today. I learned that when she started making these teapots, she had a 30% success rate. Now, 50%. Can you imagine spending time creating something, whether it was an object or work project with only a 30% success rate? You have to be thick skinned in so many ways to survive as an artist.
Mikey told me how she has to build each teapot on a kiln shelf. As she builds/connecting the two main bodies with coils, Mikey builds clay supports. After the bisque firing, she needs to be able to chisel/knock away the support form. When you see her teapots, think about building the forms around it, and then firing them to 1800 degrees. Clay shrinks as it is fired. Imagine the torquing that takes place inside the kiln.
Mikey answers our
“Ten Questions to the Artist”
so that we can get to know her, just a little.
1. What turns you on creatively, spiritually, or emotionally?
Creatively I get a charge from viewing art either in person or in a book. Listening to artist describe their work and express their passion excites me most.
2. Do you have an influence or theme that guides your work?
Originally, I was determined to create my teapots because an instructor said they cant be done. Now, I continue to build them to see how far I can push the boundaries successfully. With that, I lose more than achieve which makes the achievements more rewarding.
3. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
4. What profession would you not like to do?
5. Who are your favorite artists?
Picasso reminds me that anyone can be an artist, even if you don’t think so. If he can sketch a masterpiece in 30 seconds, I can take one a week and draw one too.
6. What is your favorite tool used to create your work?
If I didn’t have the wheel I dont know if I would of pursued art. It is my starting point and most of my creativity comes out during throwing.
7. What is your favorite word?
My Family is why I’m following this path. Their support has nurtured my art. Without them, I would of gone a completely different direction.
8. What is your least favorite word?
‘I can’t’ is probably the hardest words for me to hear. If I looked at something and thought, “I can’t” life would be impossible. When someone tells me “I can’t” I usually smile and say something like, “sure you can” but I really want to shake sense into them.
9. Who is your favorite musician?
10. How much formal education have you received?
I had a year of ceramics in a community college. Within that time, I sold several pieces and was accepted into a gallery. I then took a year of independant study and taught a ceramic instructor how to throw on the wheel so he could teach his students not only amazing hand building techniques but also the basics of wheel throwing.
Thank you, Mikey, for answering our questions. Stop in to the gallery to see her exhibit. Mikey will be in the gallery, Friday night, 6-8pm. Or, if you don’t live in West Michigan, check out our virtual exhibit. We will ship.