Matthew Metz has been a making his living as a studio potter for the last 25 years. He resides and works in Alfred, New York. Born in Kendallville, Indiana in 1961, he received a B.F.A from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana and M.F.A. from Edinboro University in Edinboro, Pennsylvania.
From 1989 to 1991 he was a resident at the Archie Bray Foundation in Helena, Montana. In 1991 he received an Individual Artist Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. He has been the recipient of two McKnight Artist Fellowships through the Northern Clay Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota; first in 1997 and again in 2005.
Metz shows and sells his pottery throughout the U.S. and internationally- including the St. Croix Potter’s Tour (MN), the Old Church Pottery Show (NJ), and the Philadelphia Craft Show. Matthew’s work is in numerous private and public collections including the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Minneapolis Institute of Art, the Erie Art Museum, Racine Art Museum, Schein-Joseph Museum of Ceramic Art, Alfred University, Rhode Island School of Design, Huntington Museum of Art, Huntington, West Virginia, and Long Beach Museum of Art, Long Beach, California, among others.
For me, the process of developing my own voice and work in pots has been intuitive, personal, and situational. Whenever I speak about my work and my life, I express the caveat that while a full time studio potter, I don’t have a broad philosophy that I project outside of my own daily experience. The work comes from my own history and interests, and the places that life and work have lead me. It comes out of my own tolerance for a certain sort of labor, maybe like knitting or quilting, whose repetitive pace might drive another person batty. The work changes through baby steps rather than heroic struggles, which, again, is my preference given my personality.
I like the way pots live in the domestic space: the way ‘function’ brings you into relation with an object that’s informal, specifically not creating the aesthetic distance of a gallery, or museum. If an object looks like it should function, then I feel it should do just that. For instance, a teapot should pour. When I do push the edge of functionality it is in objects such as vases and boxes that are generally meant anyway to have a purely decorative ability when both in or not in use. If work and interests, however, lead me away from function, I imagine that I would follow…
I have had an ongoing passion for the history of pottery. I relate to the description of our process in pots as personalizing a riff on something recognizable –like a musician playing a standard song in their interpretation. The tune you know leads you into a new experience; gives you a way to enter. There’s a pleasure to that recognition, and pleasure is primary in my work. I once said to a good friend, whose work I admire greatly, that his work was like someone shaking your shoulder and saying, “wake up and see this ”, while mine says “here, sit in this comfy chair, and have some cocoa.” This is obviously hyperbole but a lush and pleasurable richness is what I aim for.