Michael Mahan and his resume

My work ranges from durable and functional tableware fired in a high-temperature electric kiln to delicate objects of art fired in a low-temperature wood-fired bank kiln.

I form the majority of my pots on the wheel. I also use a slab roller -- a large table with two metal rollers to flatten large slabs of clay.

In the 20 years that I've been making pots, I have dabbled more and more into more artist expressions of clay, but I still can't give up functional pottery -- casseroles, plates, bowls, pitchers, mugs, juicers, candle holders....

I use several high-quality pre-mixed clays for making my pots. I glaze my pots using a variety of glaze recipes, some I've created myself, but many from other potters. The most popular of my glazes is my Southwestern glaze, a base of turquoise with green, blues and browns melted throughout it and a little raw clay showing below a light blue glaze covering the inside of the pot and some of the top. I also have some more earthy tones as well. You can go to my glaze page to see more on this.

I enjoy using a few local clays and other ingredients in some of my finishes. I dig some rich red clay from across the road to create a finish called FUterra sigilatta. The tops of my soul pots get a little "I-40 red" on the top. ("I-40 red" comes from clay silt aside Interstate 40 in Greensboro where they've been doing road work now for how many years....) My Celtic Green is a combination of my ash glaze on top of a glaze made from dregs dug from the ponds at an Asheboro rock quarry.

I fire all my stoneware in an electric kiln up to about 2,045 degrees Fahrenheit. These are mostly my functional pieces. My glazes are food safe. The pots can be used in the oven and are dishwasher safe. Just don't put a hot pot into something cold or vise-versa.

I keep altering the way I fire my burnished, wood-fired pots, but it all started when I dug a little cave in the side of a hill behind my workshop and subjected a load of burnished pots to about five hours of flame and hot coals. I'm still using the cave, but I've added an above-ground chamber that holds the pots. I got tired of aches and pains associated with loading and unloading a kiln that one enters by sliding on one's belly.

The wood-fired pots are actually fired to a much lower temperature than my electric-kiln-fired pieces. I've never actually measured it, but I'd guess the temperature of my wood kiln only reaches about 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit.