Michael Hamlin Description
Michael Hamlin-Smith grew up in North Ridgeville, a small suburb on the west side of Cleveland, Ohio. Early on, Michael developed a desire to work with his hands, a talent he lovingly tributes to his craft-oriented mother, Carole.
As an elementary student, he visited the library so often to check out pottery books, the librarians began asking him to consider different subjects. Yet, his fondness for handmade crafts never diminished.
In 1983 Michael became an exchange student with American Field Service and spent one year in Paraguay. During his stay he became fascinated by the quantity of hand-crafted items readily available to the public and frequently sought out artists and craft persons, enlivened by the work they created.
In 1987 Michael bought and installed a kiln in a friend's basement and taught himself how to hand build, make glazes and fire his work. He would bicycle to the clay supply store, carry 50 pounds of clay in his backpack to his studio apartment, make pots, then carry the dried and glazed pots several blocks to where the kiln was installed. Two years after this humble beginning Michael enrolled in the Columbus College of Art and Design and graduated with a bachelor of fine arts degree in 1996.
Michael has a great passion for gardening and flower arranging. He uses the plants and flowers he grows as tools of inspiration for designing the vases and bowls he creates.
Michael Hamlin Statement
My current work is predominately wheel thrown. For many pieces I often throw the bottom half, allow it to sit overnight to stiffen into a leather-hard state, and the following morning throw the top half onto the bottom. I trim the piece right side up and gently push in the bottom which does not need trimming. My aesthetic is influenced by midcentury modern, Scandinavian design as well as twelfth through fifteenth century Persian ceramics, Sung Dynasty vessels and Japanese Ikebana arrangements. I look at how the vessel will interact in interior settings: Will it detract from the whole interior or will it enhance an environment?
Over the past 13 years I have consistently used three specially-developed glaze formulas that I created as an undergraduate. I usually brush on the glaze instead of dipping or pouring it onto the piece. I am intrigued by matte surfaces that also offer visual texture.