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Michael Flaherty

Clay / Breaux Bridge, LA

Artist Statement

I have been a Studio Artist/Potter since July, 2008. My work is influenced by ancient Chinese, Greek, Persian & Etruscan pottery and Moorish pottery and architecture. I seek to understand the creative motivations of the societies of those historic cultures; to discover what motivated the artisans of those times to create pieces that besides being functional, contained the aesthetic design elements of proportion, volume, line, form, shape and color, while oftentimes telling a story.

Biography

EXPERIENCE
Studio Ceramicist/Potter, Breaux Bridge, Louisiana 2008-present
Louisiana Crafts Guild: Master Ceramicist & At Large Board Member
Acadiana center for the Arts: Liaison (LCG/AcA), & installation advisor for The Vault & ‘Vault installation lighting designer
Taught pottery and hand building, USL/UL Lafayette Student Union Leisure Learning program 1973-2003
University Art Museum Interim Director, 1996
USL/UL Lafayette Student Union. Former Assistant Director for Building Services, Art Gallery Curator/Director, Craft Shop Director (wood shop, black & white photo darkrooms, lost wax jewelry making, pottery studio). Retired 2008
EDUCATION
USL, Lafayette, La —Bachelors of Architecture, 1973
I started working with clay in 1971, as an undergraduate under then Professor, Tom Ladousa.
SKILLS & Interests
Artist Craftsman Ceramist & Potter, Woodworker, Photographer
I primarily work with a pre-made “plastic hand-building/throwing” clay body that is a medium beige-brown color. Briefly put, various pottery-wares are “baked” or Fired to temperatures (1400 ℉ - 3000℉), resulting in various types of Terra-cotta ware, Earthenware, Stoneware & Porcelain, respectively; it’s usually a two-step firing process as before glazes (a mix of various alkaline feldspathic minerals), can be placed on a piece; the piece must first be partially fired to Bisque temperature. The first firing modifies the molecular state of the clay to a semi-hard porous state that is receptive & compatible with the glazes. The glazes are applied then the piece is fired again to its finished Vitreous state. The “ovens” or Kilns use wood, fossil fuel or electrical resistance heat. Natural gas, for instance, is a commonly used fuel & as with any fossil fuel (& kiln design), the firing atmosphere can be adjusted in a number of ways to influence a variety of final glaze results. Electrical resistance fired kilns are typically fired in a natural or Oxidation environment. I use stoneware clay, finish-fired to approximately 2600℉, in a seven cubic-foot electric kiln. All of my finish glazes are custom hand mixed.