"I’m inspired by the magical formations and behaviors I see in nature. A crystal that is both geometric and organic. A flower’s movements with the sun and moon. These examples of nature as both perfect and wild, thriving in sometimes impossible conditions, drive my process.
Curiously, nature's mantra is translated directly through my hands to the material and process. Clay, an otherwise dense and heavy material, is transformed to feel flexible and light by weaving it around common objects, or introducing negative spaces to solid forms. I opt for depth and richness in finishing, to show evidence of the alchemic, handmade process.
Using clay flexibly 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 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 work is known for its expressive forms, uniquely woven style, and boundary pushing experimentation.
Her design contributions over the past 12 years are notable, with honors from IDEA, Spark, FastCo Innovation by Design, and the National Design Award from her 7 years at New Deal Design, a renowned design agency in SF.
In 2017, Susan founded SKINNY, an art and design studio. She both makes and sells her one of a kind work and provides design consulting services to clients.
Her work seeks to connect people to the wonders of the natural world, especially the unseen ones.
In 2019 SKINNY debuted an exclusive collection with West Elm, that launched nationwide in stores and online. She 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