Michael Colpitts is a ceramic sculptor and meditator.
Primarily self taught, he has worked in a variety of study programs with other established artists in clay including Don Reitz, Toshiko Takaezu, Paulus Berensohn.
He has traveled widely and gathered much inspiration from around the world, especially Africa and Southeast Asia. From 1975 through 1982 Michael lived in Ibiza, Spain, where he became fascinated by the desert people of North Africa and the animals of that
continent. While in Ibiza, he solidified his construction techniques of hand building and pinch and began his exploration of using clay like fabric.
Much of Michael’s current inspiration comes from oriental influences. He brings the inner qualities of silence and peace from his meditation practice to his Asian figurative work. Michael’s work has appeared in one-man and group shows in Barcelona, Ibiza and Manises, Spain and in Sun Valley, Idaho and Marin County, California.
Sumati Colpitts is a ceramic sculptor, licensed massage therapist, and culinary gourmet cook. All her professions rely on her tactile wisdom and creativity through her hands.
Sumati has studied at the Chicago Art Institute and the Kansas City Art Institute exploring a wide range of media, but has always been drawn to the use of textures and color. She first worked in clay with Michael in India in 1989 and they have been working and living together in Sedona since 1997.
Michael and Sumati’s interest is to capture the essence of the animal or the figure, and give them an expression that makes you feel good when you look at them.
Process and Technique
Creating in clay is our passion.
We create, design and make all the pieces ourselves using slab and pinch techniques. We do not use molds or forms. Subtle variations within the piece are generated by using different natural colors. Various textures are also added for accent, and to give a sense of fun and elegance.
The finished pieces are air dried for 1-2 weeks, then fired in a kiln that reaches temperatures of up to 1600 degrees Fahrenheit. The initial firing removes the water and makes the pieces strong. At this point, colored washes such as iron oxide and manganese dioxide are added to create more color and give pieces their final sheen and tones. The pieces are then fired a second time to 2300 degrees Fahrenheit, which melts the glazes to create beautiful patinas.
The finishing process after firing includes the addition of glass eyes and wire whiskers, attaching bases, and adding final touches of color to enhance each individual piece.
Many of the finished animals can go outdoors: the process renders clay water-tight, and the colors will not fade in the sun.