Michael LemkeGreeley, Colorado

Red Lodge Clay – Center Short-Term Resident 2016, 2017, 2024

I was born in Lacrosse Wisconsin. Due to my father’s job, we lived all over the country. Finally, we landed in Colorado. I graduated from the University of Northern Colorado with a BA in ceramics and sculpture. After that, I moved to Kansas and received my MFA in ceramics from KSU in Manhattan Kansas. Upon graduation, I had the opportunity to work for another potter for a few years before starting my own business and was able to move back to Colorado. Since then, I have been active in the artist community in northern Colorado and teaching both high school and at UNC in Greeley.

My work attempts to convey the importance of touch and conveys the process of pottery making and the experiential properties of working in the studio. An- other passion of mine is marine life, so including textures and colors that refer to the coral reef is a natural fit for my work.

Conveying the tactile quality of working with clay while also referring to the pace of studio work is important to my practice. I attempt to describe the qualities of the clay at all stages of making so that anybody can feel a connection to the process when holding and using the pottery. One way I do this is to leave throwing rings on the insides of my pots while taking care to compress the exterior with a metal rib. I also carefully craft the foot rim while throwing, or keep the piece wet while trimming, which enables me to move the clay farther, showing the plasticity and adding some playful individuality to each piece. When the clay is leather hard, I use a variety of tools to plan out where I’ll put surface decorations. I further the personal narrative of my work by using one of my daughter’s sewing tools to draw lines on the surface.