Behind the Scenes with Master Ceramicist, Michiko Shimada

Posted by Lynn Power on

We are beyond fortunate to have master ceramicist, Michiko Shimada, working with Isle de Nature. We are truly lucky! We asked her recently more about her craft, we think you'll enjoy reading about her.

What got you interested in ceramics?

I was first introduced to ceramics in collage as part of product design curriculum and I just loved everything about it. Clay is an incredible medium, I particularly like how it transforms into something completely different after firing.

What kind of training did you go through to perfect your art?

After I discover my calling, I pretty much spend most of my collage years in the basement where the ceramics studio was experimenting with the materials, even worked as a tech there too. After graduating, I got a job at a design company specializing in tablewares. I learned about the mass production side of the industry there. At the same time, I got a small space at a communal clay studio in Brooklyn and started to make my own line on the weekend until I left my day job to become a full-time ceramicist. After that is just about  building my experience through a variety of projects done both for myself and my clients.

Why NYC? 

I went to Parsons, and got a job in the city, got a studio in Brooklyn, I guess I just never left. Plus I love the diversity of the opportunities NYC offers too, always interesting projects with interesting people.

What is your favorite part of the process?

The moment I open the kiln. It’s both exciting and terrifying. Exciting because it’s like opening a present on Christmas morning, terrifying because things could go very wrong at the last moment.


Do you bring a Japanese sensibility to your art?

I guess I never really think about it when I make things, but I do like looking at Japanese art and traditional crafts.

Where do you look for inspiration?

I love getting inspired through traveling looking at things from different cultures. Can't wait to be able to go out more freely.

Do you think ceramics are becoming more popular? After all, they are very much on trend (sustainable, reusable, handmade)?

Oh year, it's been a while since the big trend has started and I love that it keeps growing. It's great to see there are so many local clay studios now, more opportunities for people to try this medium.


Are there any ceramists who you are inspired by?

It’s so hard to pick,,, I’m following a UK based artist, Phoebe Cummings on IG and her work is so incredibly beautiful.
If you find Michiko's work as beautiful as we do, you can buy her ceramics on her site. She is also on Etsy. Enjoy!

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