|MACONE CLAY is the artwork of Michael Macone and his two sons Miles and Clayton and his son in law Dan Temple. Michael has been making pottery for over 30 years and his work is in collections around the world. Miles and Clayton began working with him in 2002.
Michael grew up in a very creative environment. His mother was an artist and she encouraged his gift at an early age, teaching him to oil paint in 4th grade. He always kept busy with art and sold his first paintings to neighbors and family friends. One year, after several consecutive years of winning the school poster contest, a teacher declared Michael ineligible so others could have a chance to win (Michael was fine with the arrangement, because the school bought one of his oil paintings).In high school Michael spent most of his time in the art room. “If not for those A’s in art, I’m not sure I would have had a high enough grade point average to graduate.” He was on track to be a painter, even converting his bedroom into a studio where he worked on large 4′ by 7′ canvases.
Then, in 1969, in his junior year, a young clay major named Bruce Kaupanger interned in Michael’s high school. The two hit it off, working on joint projects in clay, and Michael’s aspirations of being a painter gradually faded. ‘The dramatic change in my future career based solely on Bruce’s contagious love of clay, is a testament of the positive influence of a good teacher.” Michael notes.They remain good friends and Bruce sometimes uses Michael’s studio to work on his own new clay projects (an interesting situation, because the place would not even exist, if Bruce had not gotten Michael excited about clay).
He participated in extensive clay workshops, then attended Layton School of Art in Milwaukee. After only a year though, he decided to leave and began a small clay operation in Minneapolis in a one stall garage. “There was no electricity so I had to stretch an extension cord to plug in a few lights.” He first created novel pottery planters shaped like blue jeans and called the work Klay Klothes. The line caught the eye of clothing designer Bill Blass and he has several in his collection. Selling primarily through local art fairs, he grew the business until he noticed other companies were knocking off his work, producing it in China then selling it throughout the country.
Taking a new direction, he designed mirrors and vases, renamed the company Trinity Pottery, and began selling his work at prestigious art fairs throughout the country, winning many awards along the way. In 1982 he developed a unique engraving technique that allowed him to etch his designs right into the clay, rather than placing them only on the surface. This gives the work a dimensional quality that can be appreciated with the hand as well as the eye. This process made it possible to produce a line of high quality ceramic art tiles that could be distributed wholesale.
The new line was an instant hit and he called the new company Spooner Creek, which now offers a distinctive assortment of etched ceramic tiles.In 2002 Michael introduced “The Potter’s Shed” line of earthy clay artwork that he sells to galleries and shops across the country. His two sons, Miles and Clayton now collaborate with him on wheel thrown, slab constructed, and extruded vessels as well as handmade tiles. Dan Temple creates woodwork that has recently been added to the tiles. They sell their art to galleries across the country and exhibit at some of the nations premiere art festivals.