Tag Archives: juried cup show

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Paul Frazer

Paul Frazer making mugs

Paul Frazer making mugs

“Forever a journey”
I have been creating and teaching art for the majority of my life. I learned to work on the potter’s wheel at a very early age. I was amazed at the process of taking soft clay, throwing it on this contraption, spinning it, and creating a pot. When I learned about the ceramic process, and that you use fire to finish the work, I was hooked.

Working on sculpture

Working on sculpture

My interests in ceramics and the studio arts consumed my high school and college life. I earned my Art Education degree from Buffalo State College and went on to earn my MFA in Ceramics from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. Since that time I have taught in a variety of situations, but quickly realized my love of working with children. I am a high school art teacher in the beautiful town of Naples, in the Finger Lakes region of New York. I enjoy playing a role in the lives of the children and young adults of my community and I am inspired everyday by seeing the world through their eyes.

MFA exhibition candid

MFA exhibition

My interests in the visual arts are diverse. My undergraduate portfolio focused upon the sculptural vessel and the firing process of raku. I also intensely studied figure drawing and sculpture while obtaining by education degree. My graduate work consisted of large scale, classically inspired figurative sculpture. I enjoyed the challenge of creating really big sculpture out of clay and gained a tremendous amount of experience regarding ceramic techniques, processes and materials.

Monster Mugs

Monster Mugs

I have always made pots and the past several years have concentrated on sculptural mugs. These mugs have become studies in form and function and have also allowed me to explore imagery related to character and creature design as seen in my monster mug series. Imagination is the world I am often lost in, storytelling, escapism and popular fantasy have driven my creative choices. I love bringing form to life with gesture, texture and color.

Frazer porcelain mugs and goblets

Frazer porcelain mugs and goblets

I love working with clay as it is able to exist in so many different forms. From liquid to stone like solid, clay provides the most interesting and engaging processes of any art materials I have explored. Being a high school art teacher allows me to journey through art processes and materials , visiting with freedom, ideas fleeting or complex. The mug allows for a quick dip into process and idea formation, like a maquette, it represents something more, something larger and more complex but just for a moment I can hesitate and enjoy that tactile communication frozen in form as I enjoy my morning coffee.

Thank you to Main Street Arts for putting together this exhibition, it’s an honor to share my work. Find me on Facebook.

Stop by Main Street Arts to see Paul’s “Scurrying Mug” in our national juried exhibition of drinking vessels, “The Cup, The Mug” (juried by Peter Pincus, educator and ceramic artist from Rochester, N.Y.) The exhibition can also be previewed and purchased in our online shop: store.mainstreetartsgallery.com The exhibition runs through January 4, 2018.


Inside the Artist Studio with Michael Ashley



Glazing at Ashley Studio Pottery in Tupelo Mississippi

Originally from Springfield  MO, I graduated from College of the Ozarks with a BA in Painting and Ceramics then moved to Tachi, Taiwan where I spent a year at Tainan National University for the Arts.  In 2010 I graduated from the University of Mississippi with an MFA in Ceramics. I have taught at Missouri State University, the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University and Tyler School of Art and am currently making Pots in Tupelo MS at Ashley Studio Pottery and teaching at Northeast Mississippi Community College.


My desk with Max Beckmann, coffee, homework for students, and sketches for cups.

My current work comprises utilitarian forms with motifs and patterns influenced by Kenzan Style Edo Period Japan with color and painterly application of  expressionist paintings from early to mid century.


wine cups earthenware 2017

I am particularly interested in the way Beckmann uses bold colors surround by black lines to create shapes and planes.


vase with tulips

My process begins with red clay dipped or brushed in white slip. After bisque, I start first layer of brush work using iron wash made of iron oxide and OM4 ball clay or glaze pencil.


bisqued bowls with brushwork

Next, I apply liner glaze depending on the form.


I then begin to layer glazes using bulb syringe and brushes. My glazes are a combination of glazes I mix, made mostly of frits and Mason Stains as well as some commercial Amaco and Duncan glazes.


Glazed work ready for the next layer

Lastly, the pot is dipped in a thin clear glaze and fired.


Footed red box 2017

Artist Statement
My work invites touch, like a stone plucked from a riverbed. I love pots that are smooth in the hand but have a rugged, natural beauty. I observe a constant erosion and evaporation that takes place in my daily environment. I strive for layers of visual depth combining slip, glaze and texture to recall this geological wearing. Traditional utilitarian forms are the vocabulary for my investigation, surfaces are a combination of historic patterns and motifs mixed with the vibrancy and life of mid century abstract expressionist paintings.


cups earthenware 2017

Ritual and habit inform my studio practice. Art, work and play exist in all aspects of life. I begin my day with tea; boil the water, strain, pour and savor. That rhythm carries throughout my day whether chopping onions or wedging clay. Make something, use it, let it inform your life, make more.


Mississippi oribe 2017

You can follow me on Instagram and Michael D. Ashley or Ashley Studio Pottery on Facebook.


Ashley Studio Pottery
398 East Main Street, Suite 106, Tupelo MS, 38804


Ashley Studio Pottery www.ashleystudiopottery.com

Michael Ashley has two cups included in our second annual “The Cup, The Mug” exhibition, and received an honorable mention award for one of his wine cupsStop by Main Street Arts to see Michaels’s work through January 4, 2018 or purchase his cups onlinestore.mainstreetartsgallery.com