PO Box 702, Grand Marais, MN 55604, USA

Melissa Wickwire

I grew up between the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York and the Wyoming prairie.  Since earning a BFA in ceramics from Alfred University in 2002, I was an arts administrator and an arts educator before moving to northern Minnesota. I have been drawn to the arts since childhood and have maintained my own creative practices with clay for over 20 years.  The launching of Wickwire Clay Works in 2013, with a focus on custom tile and pottery, allows for balancing the demands of living and a creative lifestyle with making at the fulcrum.   I am grateful for the layers of support, opportunity and intention that continue to align to provide a creative life.  

I strive to create spaces that function as durable, safe environments sparking a positive, warm psychological response.  My projects can invoke a compulsion to touch, even in passing, while revealing different things when viewed from different distances.  My work has the ability to transform the built environment from the rigid, inherent perfection of machined materials into a restorative, grounding environment much like a walk in the woods or time spent by a lake.  Living somewhere between the tradition of using clay and heat to produce a functional building material and post-modern art, my work engages viewers on a conceptual level.  My work also provides an entry point for a more curious viewer who wants to investigate by questioning “how was this made?” or “why go through all of the trouble?”  My answer being, “it is crucial for us to engage with and question the sources and processes of our surroundings”; this is an important question of our time.