Mel Griffin

Whether functional or decorative, all of my work emerges from drawing. I build vases to reflect the shape of an image, and alter plates in order to accommodate a drawing’s gesture. I’m interested in developing a strong relationship between the imagery on the surface and the form itself, and think of my plates more as sculptural paintings than as pots with brushwork that decorates their surfaces. I don’t want imagery and form to simply relate to one another; I want them to feel absolutely integral.


Functional pottery is unique in the depth of its participation in its owner’s life, becoming a part of his personal sense of place. My newest work focuses on flat wall panels and tile, which are also meant to function in intimate domestic spaces. Removing the element of three-dimensional form, I am exploring the manner in which texture, composition and line quality combine to create an emotive experience. Compositions combine the classic, yet fantastical drawing styles of 18th and 19th Century naturalists with the cleaner, more graphic styles of contemporary illustration. As subjects, animals serve as both playful and solemn metaphors for relatable and elemental aspects of the human condition.

Making and drawing allow me to investigate fluid and profound relationships between the body, handmade objects, and landscape, both inside the home and out in the world. Through imagery and metaphor, line and clay, my work seeks to capture the viewer's emotional interest and to rekindle his sense of wonder and discovery.

Selected Work: