Michael Bridges – Red Lodge Clay Center

Michael BridgesChicago, Illinois

Red Lodge Clay Center – Short-Term Resident  2023

Michael Bridges was born in Alabama in the late 1980s. He grew up playing violin to his pet turtles after school and fishing with his brother on the weekends. He currently resides in Chicago, Illinois where he works as a potter and teacher. He has been featured in a variety of publications from Garden & Gun to Ceramics Monthly.

I am a ceramic artist whose work focuses on creating utilitarian objects that take inspiration from adolescent memories of growing up in rural Alabama. Some pieces reference the joys of exploring nature as a child-Owls, Opossums, Frogs etc. while other imagery is drawn from my love for Horror and Science Fiction films. Both are equally important to me and ultimately create a unique language of intuitively chosen imagery.

Influenced by my parallel experience as a professional bread baker, my work follows the same rhythm and ritual of baking. Repetition is an integral element of my practice: by repeating the same form and imagery across a body of work and then allowing the environment of the kiln determine the surface, it creates individual pieces with a common theme. The focus becomes less about the imagery itself and more about the subtle (and sometimes dramatic) variations from piece to piece. The human hand can never truly repeat, but through “practice” it can develop a muscle memory that allows for similarities to emerge while still celebrating the differences.

Each part of the process is completed and informs the next step, and while some technical aspects to remain precise, the physical manipulation of material to produce a form results in fast, bold and decisive movements to make a series of repetitive shapes. Similarly, the surface treatment indicates actions taken during the process of physically creating them––fingerprints, swipes and indentations that serve as a humble reminder of the hands that produced the pottery.