Themes of human connection within our natural and built environment are central to my architectural ceramic work, along with an intense curiosity about source and process. My drive comes from the healing that creating my work provides. I have experienced common human wounds. Among the joys and trials of life, my studio practice is an anchor and a buffer. My creative process brings comfort and healing that I aim to extend to others with the vision that only by first finding healing within ourselves will we be able to transform our communities and our greater world. My studio space is a hub for my personal, community and professional creative work.
By making each piece by hand, my ceramic tile has the ability to transform built environments from the rigid perfection of machined materials to a restorative, grounding experience — much like a walk in the woods or time spent by a lake.
My artistic practice lives between the ubiquitous tradition of using clay and heat to produce functional building materials and ceramic objects for a variety of uses, and my ongoing questioning of our modern lives. Even outside of my studio, I often question the source and process inherent in my surroundings. How was this made? Where did this come from? These are simple yet important questions that can help bring meaning, connection, justice and, in turn, healing. Creative work can and does transform the world; artists are imagining and creating ourselves, our communities and our world.
Currently, I’m exploring a plan to use site specific materials to create sustainable, accessible ceramic products with an emphasis on environmental and social sustainability. The potential exists to create a place where sustainability, economic opportunity and creativity work together to build understanding and support.
I grew up between the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York and the Wyoming prairie. Since earning a BFA in ceramics from Alfred University, I was an arts administrator and an arts educator before moving to northern Minnesota in 2011. I continue to create work in my studio and share my work as a teaching artist. I have been drawn to the arts since childhood and have maintained my own creative practices with clay for over 20 years. I have been focusing on creating custom ceramic tiles since 2013 which allows for balancing the demands of living, such as earning income and covering studio overhead.
In these especially challenging times, I am deeply grateful for my support system that includes my family and friends and my local network of creative support and opportunities. An extra big slice of gratitude goes to Betsy Bowen, who has been gracious and supportive with my studio lease since 2013. I have received, and continue to receive, support from the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council for my creative work and community programming. In 2021 I received support from Springboard for the Arts for a community project to work towards combating social isolation. I am a grateful recipient of a fiscal year 2021 Creative Support for Individuals grant through the Minnesota State Arts Board that has allowed me to maintain my connection to Minnesota residents and my community in flexible ways as I continue to work towards my artistic and professional goals.
Melissa Wickwire is a fiscal year 2021 recipient of a Creative Support for Individuals grant through the Minnesota State Arts Board. This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.
Copyright © 2021 Wickwire Clay Works - All Rights Reserved.