Mel McKinley is a ceramist, studio designer, and digital fabricator currently in Portland, OR. She received her MFA in Applied Craft + Design from Oregon College of Art and Craft / Pacific Northwest College of Art, and her BFA in both Ceramics and Jewelry/Metalsmithing from Eastern Kentucky University. Her practice is an interdisciplinary approach to the everyday object, encompassing many production methods and materials, with clay as its foundation.
My work explores the relationships and engagements that we have with everyday objects. Approaching utilitarian forms, nuanced actions, and domestic spaces with a systematic mindset, I create under the desire for more intentionality in the mundane. The objects I make serve as tools for noticing, becoming more engaged with our environment and ourselves. I focus on the exchanges we have with the objects in our everyday lives, rituals and routines we create around them over time, and interactions that connect us more intensely with ourselves and our built environment. From this focus I make objects that amplify their own patterns of use, and create conscious interaction and exchange. This challenges the user for awareness, and allows time to be present and intentional in the everyday.
My practice utilizes traditional methods and materials from the world of ceramics, such as mold making and slip casting. In combination with use of digital fabrication tools, methods, and industrial materials, like 3d printing and digital prototyping, to create objects. I explore the longstanding relationship between production and ceramics. These objects are supported through a variety of other materials, often from the world of product design, including plastics, wood, and fibers. The space between the world of the product and the world of the handmade object is blurred through my making as I transgress the relationship we have with industry, and the sensitive sphere of our domestic spaces and ourselves.