Michelle Coakes: Louisville, Kentucky

Michelle Coakes first studied ceramics at Northern Illinois University where she completed a bachelor of fine arts degree in 1982, a master of arts degree in 1985, and a master of fine arts degree in 1987. Coakes's work has been exhibited widely throughout the United States, and she has received numerous awards for her work. She is also the author of  Creative Pottery (Gloucester, Massachusetts, Rockport Publishers, 1998.)

Coakes is best known for her functional and quasi-functional vessels in stoneware, most of which are finished in a wood-fired (anagama) kiln. Almost all of her work is wheel-thrown and manipulated. Forms reminiscent of antique oil and watering cans are the inspiration for her most works in clay. The rich, variable wood-fired surfaces add greatly to the illusion and references she sets up between old and new. Spouts, which take on a gestural quality, only add to the sculptural presence in the work. References to tradition and utility are constant in all of her clay work.     - from Joe Molinaro's Pottery Tour of Kentucky