Since discovering clay I have become fascinated by the amazing complexity and unpredictability of the medium and the endless possibilities for the making and decorating of a form. I have found that in the concept of The Illustrated Vessel, the application of fun, playful and narrative images onto a three dimensional canvas, using the volumetric and sculptural aspects of the form, open up endless creative possibilities. My pieces could be seen as sculptural but they are always vessels, this is important to me".
I work mostly in red or white low fired earthenware; what is called in France Terre Vernissée. As well as some majolica. The forms vary between sculptural vessels and traditional shapes, all of which are highly decorative and usually figurative. I call my pieces Illustrated Vessels.
Artists Statement; Since discovering clay I have become fascinated by the amazing complexity and unpredictability of the medium and the endless possibilities for the making and decorating of a form. I have found that in the concept of The Illustrated Vessel, the application of fun, playful and narrative images onto a three dimensional canvas, using the volumetric and sculptural aspects of the form, open up endless creative possibilities. My pieces could be seen as sculptural but they are always vessels, this is important to me".
Work Generally Available from:
I am permanently represented by, Galerie ANAGAMA, 5 rue du Baillage, 78000 Versailles. Tel: 01 39 53 68 64
I also have a small exhibition space at home, where there are always a number of current pieces available for sale.
I attend various pottery fairs and ceramic festivals in France.
I may commence the making of a piece with a clear idea of the form and
surface treatment beforehand, or create the form in isolation and
simply see what develops. My pieces are usually thrown and then
de-formed or altered, or added to by the addition of small coils or
Clay is red or white earthenware. Surface imagery is applied with coloured slips at the raw state, and the clay is carved into, much as one would draw on paper. After the first bisque firing, further drawing is made using oxides, coloured pigments or commercial underglazes before a final clear, transparent glaze is applied. Sometimes further low fire glazes are added and a third firing follows. I fire in oxidation using both an electric and a gas kiln.
"I work on the edge of the potter's craft and consider myself rather as
a painter or illustrator of three dimensional objects whereby the
surface of the pot is my canvas. The shape and its surface decoration
must be truly integrated and as such the physical process of making and
surface treatment combines the art of a potter, sculpter and painter.
I am strongly influenced by past traditions, but at the same time am
constantly trying to break away from them and to find new ways of
telling old stories. I want to cross traditional boundaries in the
presentation of the ceramic form whilst using it to engage the onlooker
in a narrative or fantasy, much the same way as those masters of
story-telling, the ancient greeks.
I want to push the boundaries and question the accepted perception of "what is a pot"?
"The surface of a ceramic vessel is a powerful and expressive vehicle with which to fuse the various disciplines of painting, sculpture and story-telling into a powerful language of it's own".
I graduated from Willesden College of Art way back in 1959 with a
degree in Painting and Printmaking. Then became a commercial artist and
Over the years I lived and worked as a graphic designer in the United States, Israel and in the U.K.
It was only after spending many years running my own design studio, that in the early 90¹s I discovered the medium of clay. I was immediately hooked and in 1992-3 undertook a one year Post Graduate Diploma Course in ceramics at Goldsmith¹s.
In 1994 after graduation from Goldsmiths I moved to South West France where my wife Sue and I set about renovating an old farmhouse, built a studio and I started on my new career as a potter.
1993. “Starting Out”.Business Design Centre, London. U.K.
1993. Pam Shomberg Gallery, U.K.
1993. New Ashgate Gallery, U.K.
1999. Finalist: Sydney Meyer International Ceramics Award, Shepperton, Australia.
2000. Finalist: 4me Biennal Europia de Ceramica, Museo de Ceramica, Manises, Valencia, Spain.
2000. Finalist: Concurs de Ceramica 2000, Museo de Ceramica L'Alcora, Spain.
2002. Galerie Artis Factum, Bordeaux, France.
2003. Galerie Artis Factum, Bordeaux, France.
2004. Galerie Anagama, Paris, France.
2005. Museum Bernard Palissy, Saint-Avit Lacapelle Biron, France.
2005. Galerie du Don, Monsalvy, France.
2005. Levallois Perret, Paris, France.
2005. Galerie Terra Viva, St Quentin la Poterie, France.
2006. Galerie Adama, Bordeaux, France.
2006. Galerie Anagama, Paris, France.
2007. Ceramic Art London, RCA, London, U.K.
2007. Le Cloitre de Récollets, Bergerac, France.
2007. 10me Festival de Ceramique, Hastangues, les Landes, France.
2007. "Sept Artistes", Pomarede, Le Lot, France.
2007. “Erotisme dans L'artisanat'd'art”, Penne d'Agenais, France.
2007. “Art Contemporaine”, Carousel du Louvre, Paris, France.
2008. 2me Festival de Ceramique, Paris 11me, Paris, France.
2008. Imagine Gallery, Long Melford, Suffolk,U.K.
2008. Lund Gallery, Easingwolde, York, U.K.
2008. "Terrania", Festival Internacional de Ceramica, MontBlanc, Spain.
2009. Galerie du Don du Fel, Le Fel, France.
2009. "Eros", Maison de la Ceramique Contemporaine, Giroussens, France.
2009. "Art 07",Group Exhibition, Salviac, Le Lot, France.
2010, Galerie Terra Viva, St Quentin la Poterie, France., Until November 2010.
2010, "Ceramique 14 Paris", 20-24 October, 2010
2011 Michael Kay, "Forme et Fantaisie", Golf de Lolivarie, Perigord, France.
2011 "4 Couleurs", Metiers d'Art, Nontron, Perigord, France.
2012. "Terres d'empreintes", Musée de Sevres, Sevres, France.
2012 "Fables de Céramique", Musée Benoit De Puydt, Bailleul, France.
2012 “Journees de la céramiques”, Place Sainte Sulpice, Paris France, and Galerie Imagine, Bordeaux, France.
2013 Galerie “Loes & Reinier International Céramiques”, Deventer, Nederlands.
2014 "Michael Kay", ceramics and paintings, Galerie du Don du Fel, Le Fel, France.
Shepperton Museum and Art Gallery, Victoria, Australia.
Ceramic Museum, Centre Culturel de Tursan, Samadet, Landes, France.
Museum Benoit-De-Puydt, Bailleul, France
"Fragile" Exhibition Catalogue, 2004. University of Essex.
"Le Decor de la Nature... a l'image", Catalogue, Musee Bernard-Palissy.
Art&Decoration Sud Ouest, Nov-Dec 2001.
'500 Figures in Clay", a Lark Ceramics Book.
"A Potters Thought", Michael Kay, Ceramic Review, March-April 2008.
"Nude Art Today", published by Editions Patou, Paris.
ATELIERS d'ART no 97 2012; dossier Terres Illustrees.
SUD OUEST "le MAG no 20.
KLEI Keramisch Magazine, Nederlands. no 3, 2013.
New Ceramics, 'Profile Michael Kay", No 3, 2014.