Michelle Blade | Good Kind Work
We recently caught up with ANP artist Michelle Blade, mid-global pandemic and amidst a national civil rights reckoning, to discuss her latest works and what has served as the creative bridge between her paintings and her latest artistic venture -- ceramics.
How are you doing?
Where are you at this moment in time (literally, geographically, psychologically, emotionally – any/all of the above)?
Right now I am sitting in my living room in our house in LA, after a day of painting ceramics.
How has life changed for you recently? Have world events affected your work or workflow in any way?
It’s been a revolutionary year, both painful and awe inspiring. Lately it feels that everyday is brimming with growth and new information. I’ve been very fortunate that my workflow has remained constant during this time. My home studio enables me to still work full-time and also care for my family.
What does an average day look like for you?
I wake up between 5:30-6am, make a pot of coffee and try to get a bit of reading in. Once my kids are awake breakfast is made and then there is a stretch of time filled with play and chaos until I head into my home studio to work. Depending on what’s on my plate I work a full day either painting or working on ceramics. Since we started sheltering in place for Covid19 the kids run freely in and out of the studio, working beside me on their own clay sculptures while we listen to music and take dance breaks. I believe they feel it’s their studio too, which I love. At the end of the day I try to go squeeze in a run and then come home and make dinner. After that I typically work on the computer answering emails or I read a bit and I put the kids to bed. (Covid has made for some really exciting days! Hah)
Good Kind Work is your latest artistic venture. What served as the bridge between painting and ceramics?
During a brief painting blog about seven years ago I started making ceramics hoping that working in a different capacity would loosen me up. It ended up taking on a life of its own and quickly grew into a second passion. Eventually, a few years down the line, it grew into a small business that I’ve been calling Good Kind Work.
Do you find that the two mediums are interconnected? How does working in the third dimension change your approach?
The imagery in my paintings and ceramics are tied together but the mediums themselves could not be more different. For me painting is exploratory, elusive and romantic. Often I feel like I’m collaborating with an unknown entity when I’m working on a painting. Ceramic production is all about getting into the rhythm of construction and honing a set of specific skills. The rote motions can be very meditational and the smell of the clay is grounding. My split personality loves toggling between the two.
Your painted works tend to be so ethereal and gestural. Does this approach also apply to your ceramic works, or is the artwork meant to be more literal or representative?
My hand and style of image making is present in both painting and ceramics but I find the different mediums are what creates the mood and look. For example, the underglaze I use on my ceramics goes on in a static way, therefor making a more clean and distinct image. Within my paintings I use acrylic inks and watercolors that tend to bleed and abstract. This creates a more mysterious and ethereal image.
What are your hopes for Good Kind Work? How do you envision your pieces existing in other peoples’ spaces?
It’s my aim to continue to grow with Good Kind Works, producing utilitarian pieces that have a unique presence. I love that these mugs, plates, cups, etc. can be an art form that people can use and enjoy in their everyday lives.
What inspires you?
The world really. There is just so much out there to be inspired by. It’s endless. But when I’m looking for day to day inspiration I turn heavily to running, reading, my friends, my children, and music.
What is on the horizon for you? For Good Kind Work?
More painting, more ceramics, more hope, more joy, more love.
Where can people find your works?
Michelle's latest collection, dubbed ‘The Gardener’s Series', is inspired by her love for the garden and all things that grow there. Each piece is hand painted with the blue Gardener's designs featuring a mixture of flowers, butterflies, snails, snakes, moths, and gardeners.
Learn more & purchase a piece of Michelle’s work at www.goodkindwork.com