Michelle Erickson will present at the Mr. and Mrs. Raymond J. Horowitz Seminar on New York and American Material Culture on Tuesday, January 21, at 6 pm. Her talk is entitled “Making History: the Art and Politics of Clay.”

Erickson will discuss her practice as a studio potter in the fields of contemporary art, historical archaeology, and studio ceramics. Her oeuvre is renowned for its historical depth, technological virtuosity, and incisive commentary. She will explain how her work gives dynamic relevance to the legacy of ceramics as a form of social expression, referencing how makers and users have deployed ceramics to advocate for political change and social justice as well as to document epic events in human experience.


Michelle Erickson has a BFA from the College of William and Mary and is an independent ceramic artist and scholar. Internationally recognized for her mastery of techniques used during the American colonial era, her work reinvents historical ceramics to construct contemporary social, political, and environmental critiques. Her pieces are in the collections of major museums in the United States and Britain, including the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City, the Seattle Art Museum, the Potteries Museums in Stoke-on-Trent, and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. She has lectured and demonstrated at these institutions as well as the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Milwaukee Art Museum, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Profiles of Erickson’s erudite artistry appear in numerous national and international publications. Her interdisciplinary studies of seventeenth- and eighteenth- century ceramic techniques, grounded in historical research and object-making, have been featured in such journals as the Chipstone Foundation’s Ceramics in America. Erickson also has designed and produced ceramics for many museums, institutions, and collectors as well as major motion pictures such as The Patriot (2002) and HBO’s series John Adams (2008).