Meet Megan. Megan is a first year graduate student here in ceramics at USU. Rather I should say she is the first year graduate student in ceramics at USU, because unlike the other grads, she wasn't paired up with another applicant for the 09-10 school year (they typically accept two per year into the program) for whatever budgetary, administrary, unforseen circumstances that played out last spring. And much to her credit, Megan is charting the waters of being a first year graduate student alone and doing a fine job of fitting in with the existing motley crew that is USU.
Megan Mitchell, originally of New Hampshire, moved to Utah this past summer equipped with a fine arts undergraduate degree from Carleton College in Minnesota and plenty of life experiences in the world of clay. Her devotion to a life of clay first began while living in Montana, which continued to evolve upon moving to California to work at the Hoyman Browe Studio in the Ukiah Valley in Northern California as a potter for three years before deciding to take on graduate studies. Megan knows more about a chainsaw than anyone in the entire ceramics department at USU.
My undergraduate degree was actually in print making and painting, and it wasn't until after I had graduated that I really got into the medium of clay and became more interesting in working with it. It was at the Northern Clay Centre in Minneapolis that I first became inspired and became aware of the potential of working with clay. I then moved to Montana to take a job working on a trail crew, and because of the seasonal nature of the job I had winters off, so that was when I really started up with an actual studio practice. In 2003 I took a job in Whitefish where I fired my first wood kiln and the experience brought my two worlds together - I was hooked!
Where do you fit on the scale? (Clay Obsession scale)
I'm an 11!
Megan is a first year after all, and seems to suffer from first
year graduate student syndrome. Her symptoms include: working at all hours of the morning, day and night in the studio and has to be told when to go home by other graduate students and/or faculty, dressing up for gallery openings only to find herself amongst her peers all of whom are still donning clay stained studio garb and often finds herself awake at night obsessing about what she is going to make next and how to solve her latest clay-related conundrum.
It really came down to the faculty, other students, and the facilities being the strongest. Logan also offered me an affordable place to live.
What do you consider your schtick?
I don't have a schtick, no wait, I guess you could say I'm a press mold junkie.
What are you making right now?
I'm trying out new processes everyday. Trying not to box myself in. Right now I'm working on a series of plates that have combinations of patterns and images. I've been hand building too, coil building. I also have been incorporating various printmaking processes in my clay work, like stamping and silk screening.
My immediate environment. I'm drawn to patterns in my surroundings, mostly architecture, like doorways, windows and fences. I'm really into boundaries or openings, such as a view into the intersection between an inner space and an outer world. My ambition is to somehow convey the feeling of distant space. I really like that about Logan, the view, and how far you can look out on the horizon.
Well, I have to saw that I have three years of grad school ahead of me and I am very excited to not have to think beyond that right now because I have spent a lot of time the last few years doing just that, planning for what's next.
What do you miss the most about your former existence?
My dog Rocky, named after Rocky pond, where I used to swim as a kid. He's one of those mystery breeds, but my theory is that he's an Australian Shepherd, lab cross.