"I’m inspired by the magical formations and behaviors I see in nature. A crystal that is both geometric and organic. A flower’s ritualistic movements with the sun and moon. These examples of nature as both perfect and wild, thriving in sometimes impossible conditions, drive my process.
Each piece I make is gently shaped from patterns and strips of clay, using construction techniques commonly found in textiles such as draping, weaving, and knitting. The color of the clay is mainly inherent by staining or opting for it’s natural color, to honor the material and process.
Using clay like fabric captures a natural curiosity; my work creates tension between perfection and serendipity. This translates into pieces that strike a harmonious balance between impossible geometries and a rational reason for being—much like the objects I admire in nature. " Susan McKinney
Susan McKinney is a contemporary ceramic artist and award winning industrial + CMF designer. Susan began exploring clay’s materiality in 2008, connecting her passion for inventive design with natural materials.
Today, Susan’s ceramic work is well known for its expressive forms and uniquely woven style. Organic in nature, the objects she produces range from jewelry to home decor such as baskets, lamps, planters, and wall hangings. Her pieces' airy qualities lend themselves to a sculptural, well-suited choice for plants, fruit and light.
Her design contributions over the past 11 years are equally as impressive, with accolades from IDEA, Spark, FastCo Innovation by Design, and the National Design Award from her 7 year tenure at New Deal Design, a renowned agency in SF.
In 2016, Susan founded SKINNY, an uncommon craft and design studio. She both makes and sells her one of a kind ceramics and provides design consulting services to clients near and far. Her work seeks to connect people to the natural world. Constantly in motion, she is in a playful search for sustaining beauty and wonder.
Susan has been awarded two international ceramic residencies in Greece and Denmark. Based in Marin, she is a member of Wheelhouse, a ceramic collective in Sausalito. She also volunteers at Pond Farm Pottery, a Bauhaus rooted historical landmark for California pottery, nestled in the Armstrong Redwood Forest.
Read more about Susan's journey here
"If you have the will to learn, and the eyes to see, and the mind to search, someday too, all the facts you have discovered through nature will be visible in your work, whether you know it or not.” Marguerite Widenhain