Michael Hofman graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a fine arts degree and then received a Masters Degree in Art from The Ohio State University. He has been involved with galleries and the arts during the full course of his career. He has called Asheville home for the last 18 years.
Asheville Art Museum: Describe your artistic process.
Michael Hofman: The wonder of clay, and also the curse, is that it can become anything. Everything I make starts out the same–as a flat slab of damp clay that I roll out on my work table and then impress with lace. Using a mold or form, the wet clay is draped, rolled, or pressed into the desired shape. The first step in making any piece is deciding what to make and choosing the mold. The next decision is what lace to use. After that, the clay tells me what it wants to be. Whether it be the shape of the clay, the texture, irregularity of the edges, or the folds of the clay as it is laid into the mold, each work begins to develop its own personality. After the body comes together, I evaluate the piece to see if something is needed to strengthen the piece physically or visually. Lastly, and often the most difficult step, is knowing when to stop and call it finished.
Tell us a little more about your auction piece, Lemon Bowl. What was your source of inspiration for this work? Is this work a part of an ongoing series or body of work? Is there something special about this piece?
The mold used to make the Lemon Bowl looks like a big lemon, hence its name. I make this particular bowl when I have two large crescent-shaped slabs of clay leftover from making other pieces.
How does your work tie into the Asheville area or the Blue Ridge Mountains?
I moved to Asheville 18 years ago and as an artist, I could not ask for a better environment to call home. My studio/gallery currently resides in the River Arts District, surrounded by some 300 other artists. You might think that is a lot of competition, but I have never met a more giving and supportive group of people. From sharing technics and materials to a cup of coffee, my neighbors have always been there. Artists are also fortunate to have a very active collector base here in the mountains. People in this area really seem to appreciate the unique and handcrafted items we make.