Featured Work

image of 2nd Ammendment Squirrel, Green-aid Squirrel

2nd Amendment Squirrel, Green-aid Squirrel

Michelle Erickson (Hampton, VA, b. 1961)


Indigenous clay, press-molded and hand-built earthenware using molds taken from original clay model of a Moravian squirrel bottle, copper glaze, 2009/2018.
8 1/2 x 8 x 2 1/2 inches; 8 1/2 x 7 x 2 1/2 inches.

These animal bottles belong to Erickson’s “Green Army” series, a body of work which originates with her 2009 project, Making a Moravian Squirrel Bottle. An exploration in reverse archeology, and inspired by the green glazed figural bottles made in North Carolina by Moravian potters in the 18th century, Erickson presents modern interpretations with historical accuracy, while addressing the cultural epidemic of gun violence in America. Commenting on gun rights indoctrination, “Second Amendment Squirrel” holds a miniature machine gun cast from a toy model found in the boys’ section of a toy aisle, while “Green-aid Squirrel” holds a life cast pineapple grenade, a classic symbol of modern weaponry, its full-scale size conveys real (not symbolic) destructive power, while the intact ring indicates a dynamic of impending cataclysm.

Michelle Erickson holds a BFA from the College of William and Mary and is an independent ceramic artist and scholar based in Hampton, VA. Internationally recognized for her mastery of Colonial Era ceramic techniques her designs reinvent ceramic history to create 21st century social, political, and environmental narratives. Erickson’s works are distinguished by insightful commentary on the universal character of the human spirit. At mid-career her art stands apart from much of the contemporary ceramic and craft community by its historical depth and technological virtuosity. Erickson’s highly celebrated creations have reinvigorated distinguished decorative arts collections by connecting past and present. Her pieces have been the first contemporary ceramic artworks acquired by the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, the New York Historical Society, and the Chipstone Foundation. In 2003 the London Society of Contemporary Art acquired her work for the Potteries Museum’s 21st century collection as exemplary of contemporary ceramic art influenced by the Staffordshire pottery traditions. Her pieces are in the collections of major museums in America and Britain, among them the Museum of Art and Design New York, the Virginia Museum of Fine Art, Richmond, the Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, the Potteries Museums and Art Gallery, Stoke on Trent and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

To see more images of Erickson’s Green Army and other examples of her work visit her website.