Michelle embraces tactility and composition in her work, with an eye toward whimsy and fun. As both a ceramicist and a florist, she creates organic forms and pairs them with bold arrangements to make a statement.
Michelle is the founder of Stelo, a floral design studio based in New York City. When she creates ceramics, she thinks about the arrangements that will inhabit them, and the dynamic relationships that can emerge. The results are exciting.
Find out more about Michelle in her interview below.
The Blob Collection
The Blob Collection explores undulating surfaces that capture light and shadow, and invite tactile engagement. These pieces seem to dance with the objects in and around them from all angles.
A conversation with Michelle
How did you get started in ceramics?
My mother has many talents of the hand including gardening, painting and making ceramics, so I guess it’s no surprise that I would eventually do the same. In the past I made sculpture out of mixed materials, foam, wood, found objects and also did some painting.
Now in hindsight, I can see the blob style within my current work developing back then. I started working with clay a few years ago and find the medium very meditative.
Can you tell us a little bit about Stelo? Why flowers? How did you get into that?
Well, I used to live with a friend who, at the time I would have considered to have an expensive flower habit. Over time I too developed a shared love for this decadent display of perfumed nature. The sight of vibrant flowers somehow burns through the retina straight through to the brain. The smell hits your lungs deep, seeps into your tear ducts and fills your body with energy. It’s addicting. I started flower arranging shortly after this.
When you make vessels for flowers, what sorts of design decisions do you like to think about?
I think about what kind of arrangement I would like to see in it. Will it be one featured flower or a large bunch? Can I make the vessel so that the flowers lean a particular way? For example, I make some vases with a spout, because I found that a stem or two will want to snuggle in there and face a certain direction.
What inspires your pinch and blob styles?
As I was experimenting with different styles, I started to really enjoy the way the blob and pinch styles reflect light, how they cast shadows on themselves. Sometimes I imagine that they could come to life. With some pieces I think of stingrays, rippling and floating underwater, close to the ocean bed.
What's next for you?
Until now I've been working primarily in black and white to draw attention to the forms. In past artworks, however, I often utilized a lot of colour, possibly influence by childhood.
I grew up in a very loudly decorated house. My room was decorated in all all canary yellow: yellow walls, yellow chest of drawers, yellow closet, yellow bed frame. And on one of those walls there was a floor to ceiling, life-sized scene of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves going through a dark forest at night. A terrifying scene or highly creative atmosphere for a child, I don’t know you tell me. Anyway, long story short, I might return to working with bright colours since it’s burnt into my psyche forever.