Living in the creative city of Asheville I am fortunate to surround myself with incredibly talented, hard-working individuals who make their living making beautiful, useful work by hand. This is certainly no easy task and requires high levels of determination, focus, and good, old-fashioned hustle.
I recently had the distinctive pleasure of photographing potter Melissa Weiss and some of her recent work in her studio. Between bouts of running back to her kiln to check in on its essential stages of progress in preparation for an upcoming show, Melissa was a gracious host and model as I documented how I see her and her creations. A true hands-on artist, Melissa digs her clay from her own land in Arkansas which she then incorporates with other elements to create her distinctive medium. I am drawn to her work for its consistency, graphic qualities, and the unmistakable sense that someone made each object with intention and love. Every single piece is unique and crafted by hand, and that is certainly something to celebrate and support.
Melissa also happens to have a striking physical presence, a beauty that dances between intensity and welcoming warmth. I wanted to try and capture her in a way that I felt communicated her unique strength and power as an artist but also as a woman and mother. It is always a joy to be able to show individuals how I see them … in ways that might be new even to them.