Bandana Pottery

Featured Ceramic Artist

10 Questions for Bandana Pottery

10 Questions for Bandana Pottery


What was the impetus for becoming a ceramic artist?

Michael got hooked on clay in high school, and became a student at Penland School of Craft shortly after graduating.  It was there that he met Will Ruggles and Douglas Rankin who became teachers and mentors to him.  Several years later he was invited to go to Korea to learn the traditional method of making large Ongii storage jars with master Ongii potter Oh Hyang Jong. 

Naomi began making pottery with her grandmother as a child.  She studied clay at Earlham College with Mike Theideman, a former apprentice of Warren MacKenzie.  She spent a semester in Mexico, where she studied with Mexican potters.

What inspires your forms and surfaces?

We have always been in love with the way funky, impure materials give life to the historical work that we admire, so we spend a lot of time exploring local materials for our clays, slips and glazes.  These materials can have their limitations, but as in any creative endeavor, those limitations can help give you a framework to explore an idea.  Perhaps a clay isn’t plastic enough to throw a pitcher, but reveals a beautiful texture when it is carved at the foot or faceted.   Each clay with it’s own particular character is teaching us to listen and respond, influencing not only the pots themselves but ourselves as makers.

Who are your favorite artists?

Shoji Hamada, Lee Kang Hyo, Ruggles and Rankin, Michael Simon, Shiho Munakata, Matisse, Franz Kline, Richard Sera

How did your current aesthetic style come to be?

responding to our materials and processes (see above)

What is your favorite form to make?

all the forms we make!

What advice do you have for aspiring artists?

Find ways to give yourself the time and space to just keep making and making.  Don’t rush to find a style that seems unique- that will just be superficial.  Find the questions that intrigue you, and the explorations of those things will give rise to something interesting that is your own.  

Do you have other creative outlets/practices?

We’re both in a Klezmer band.

If you weren’t an artist, what would your dream job be?

musician, naturalist or baker?

Any favorite meal/food?
Korean food

What has been your most memorable trip/vacation/residency?

Probably a five-week trip to Korea we took together to stay with Michael’s teacher, Mr. Oh.  We worked with him in his studio and had an exhibition in Seoul at the culmination.