Melissa Mencini received her BFA from Bowling Green State University in 2000 and her MFA from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale in 2003. Melissa moved to Austin Texas in 2013 to be a full-time studio artist and educator. Since moving to Austin, she has built and established her studio and she has become a core member of the Art of the Pot annual studio tour. Previous to her move south, she was living in Anchorage Alaska teaching ceramics at the University of Alaska Anchorage. Before moving to the Alaska, she moved back and forth between Montana and Washington State working as a studio artist and teaching at both Eastern Washington University and at the University of Washington in Seattle. During her first stay in Montana, Melissa was a resident at the Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts in Helena for two years and was the recipient of the Lincoln Fellowship for one year. Melissa became interested in art at an early age and enrolled in classes at a local art center in her hometown of Cleveland, Ohio. Her current focus is making functional pottery embellished with graphic designs and decals. Melissa has exhibited her work nationally and internationally.
After finishing my MFA in Ceramics in 2003, I moved all over the United States. Living in a wide variety of places (from Florida to Alaska and many places in between) became an important part of my process by always being submersed in different architecture, local cultures, colors and patterns in my surroundings. It’s these colors and patterns as well as the local pop culture imagery that inform my work. I moved to Austin, TX in 2013 specifically to focus on working as a fulltime functional potter. Austin has provided me with a constant surge of imagery from the amazing fields of bluebonnets that spontaneously sprout up all across the city and beyond to the ever-evolving walls of graffiti. Working as a potter gives me the unique opportunity to create objects that one would tend to hold close, increasing the users understanding and furthering the investigation of the form. It’s from that intimate moment of a pot being used, the sense of understanding, function and subtlety that keeps me pushing the definition of my work.