A native of eastern Pennsylvania, Melody Ellis initially studied ceramics at the Glasgow School of Art in Scotland before earning her BFA at Temple University’s Tyler School of Art. Ellis continued her education through apprenticeships at Moravian Pottery and Tileworks in Doylestown, PA, where she discovered her love of earthenware and low-fire surfaces, and at the Fabric Workshop & Museum in Philadelphia, PA. While living in Philadelphia, she also held positions at the Clay Studio, an international ceramics art center, and Moore College of Art and Design. Now living in Edwardsville, Illinois, she works as a studio artist, exhibiting nationwide. Ellis’s expressive figures, toys and hand-carved tile can be found in private and corporate collections and numerous publications.
I create figurative earthenware “toys” and tile mosaics with richly colored and patterned surfaces. Posture, expression and the potential for movement in my sculptures are used to convey the humor and pathos of the human condition. These pieces are inspired in part by 19th century dolls, automata, and wheeled or balancing toys. I have adopted the movements and intricacies of these objects and, I hope, their innate sense of joy, mystery, or menace.
My tilework reflects a study of historical narrative art forms such as Italian majolica and medieval stained glass. I would like to lure the viewer into a curious world of spectacle. An abiding interest in puppet theater, sideshow, and morality tales feeds this endeavor. The unchanging state of humanity through the ages, and our complex relationship with the world around us, inspires my work in clay.