Bringing you a microbiologist and self-taught potter all the way from California, here is my last featured spotlight of this week’s handmade and nature-inspired Meet the Makers series! Meet Michelle Luu all the way from California. We did our interview over the Web and it was a delight to know the background behind what and where she fulfills her creative interests. Read all about her below!
Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Michelle and I am the maker behind Michelle Luu Pottery. I am a full time Microbiologist who is a self taught potter. I create a variety of one-of-a-kind pieces for the home. My hope is that these pieces will become part of your daily routines and rituals–from Sunday morning breakfasts to family and friend get togethers. I believe in the art of handmade elements so all my pieces are wheel thrown or hand built. Each piece I make is crafted with care and love for the process in and of itself as well as the final product it will become. Because each piece is handmade there is always an element of imperfection or uniqueness and I believe that there is a certain beauty derived from these so-called imperfections. I want to make things that are used every day. When I’m not making pottery, I love to experiment with cooking and playing rock songs on my ukulele. I have a weakness for pretty flowers, sunsets, and frenchies. I’m an optimist, dreamer, and I truly believe in happily ever after!
What inspired / motivated you to start making handmade pottery?
When I was younger, I’ve never had the opportunity for self expression or creative interests. Math and science were considered important subjects while art was secondary. Because of this, I was afraid to step out of my comfort zone because I didn’t think I could be artistic. Through the years, I’ve slowly broken out of my shell and pursued artistic hobbies that interested me such as photography, water colors, and drawing. These were solo creative outlets that I didn’t really share with anyone in fear of criticism. For the longest time, I wanted to try my hand at pottery because there was something so beautiful and therapeutic about the process. With the encouragement of my supportive boyfriend, I worked up the courage to take my first pottery class in June 2013. I was nervous, excited, and I had no idea what to expect. But that day, I fell in love with the texture of clay between my fingers and I would spend all my free time at the studio creating piece after piece. It has been a process of self discovery since then because I found something that I am truly passionate about and I am continually striving to learn and grow from this creative experience.
What are the inspirations behind your designs?
I’m always experimenting with my designs. I’m drawn to color, lines, and textures. Most of my pieces have simple forms because this gives me freedom to experiment. Sometimes, I’ll switch it up and add a funky handle to a mug. I want them to be modern, playful, and fun. Something to bring a smile to your face and brighten up a room and home.
What is the best part of doing what you do?
The best part of pottery is that each piece truly begins with a lump of clay. Within this lump, there are infinite possibilities waiting to be expressed. I love seeing it transform into something truly unique; something that I created with my own two hands. The entire creative process is incredible-throwing on a wheel, trimming, bisque firing, sanding, glazing, and firing a piece. For me, pottery is a form of meditation where I am able to let go of the stresses of life. It has taught me to be patient, compassionate towards myself, and to let go of things that weren’t meant to be.
When you’re not making pottery, what can you be found doing?
When I’m not playing around with clay, I’m usually practicing yoga, cooking, reading, or playing my ukulele. I also love going on outdoor adventures and taking photographs with my old Nikon film camera.
Thanks for sharing, Michelle, and thanks for helping us remember that it’s okay to step out of our comfort zones and share our creative outlets with people!