With gorgeously curated boards we could scroll endlessly (and Like, and Like, and Like…), we had to interview prolific-pinner Mike McDowell. Oh, what? He has his own amazing ceramic creations for sale under the Etsy alias Mudpuppy? Alright Mike, time to answer a few questions for us curious pinners.
Hi Mike! First, tell us a little about yourself.
I am a clay artist and craftsman living, working and obsessing over modern art and environments in Denver Colorado. The majority of my work centers around designing ceramic products for urban living, typically involving plant and garden pieces that have a dual purpose being both sculptural and functional while economizing space.
You have your own ceramics studio and Etsy shop, but what other things really inspire you?
I spend an inordinate amount of time simply walking and sitting outside with my pup, enjoying the beauty, peace and quiet of nature. We’re fortunate here in Denver to have lots of wind free and sunshine filled days.
In addition to a “Contemporary Ceramics” board, you also have artists’ portraits, interiors, and an architecture board. You obviously have broad interests but how did you get started working with clay?
In 2008 I was laid off from my day job as a senior web designer and it turned out to be the best thing that could ever have happened to me. I quickly realized this was my big opportunity to re-build my life exactly the way I wanted it and on my own terms so I started focusing on developing my clay hobby into a full time business. Even though i’ve taken some basic courses through the Art Student’s League, I used to be afraid to tell people I am pretty much self taught. Through my obsession with other clay artists I found I am not alone and have come to realize that it allows me to explore ceramics without boundaries because I don’t know what they are. I am inspired by amazing ceramicists like Otto Natzler and Claude Conover who were largely self taught and are well known for their exquisite work.
And how does Pinterest figure into your day-to-day?
I used to maintain a blog until I discovered Pinterest. I love being able to quickly add all my new finds and inspiration so I can come back and analyze them time and again. No more desktop folders and files of printed images! I’ve abandoned my blog now and point people toward my boards for their fix. The only rule I follow regarding pins to my contemporary ceramic board is I look at the work first, the name second. In this way, I don’t allow myself to be influenced by the star quality of well known artists. You’ll find everything from obscure and emerging artists to the stars of the ceramic world in my pin collection.
Are there some pinners that are really inspiring you right now?
Thanks for sharing Mike! And, as always, we’re looking forward to seeing more of your pins.