Bridgman Pottery Interview

Posted on March 27, 2015

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9368374By Jessica Trivizas

I recently had the honor of interviewing Melissa Bridgman, the owner and sole artist of Bridgman Pottery. She creates all of her eco-friendly pottery by hand in her fully equipped art studio located on the second floor of her quaint, yet artsy, Memphis Midtown home. Check out her website:

J: Where are you originally from?
M: I’m from right here! Memphis.

J: Can you give me a background of your education?
M: I moved from Memphis to North Carolina right before high school, which I attended in Winston Salem. I graduated from Salem College and then attended graduate school at Ole Miss. I received my Masters degree in Southern Studies with a concentration in art history.

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J: How is your business considered a green business?
M: Technically no ceramics are a green business because all of the supplies are rendered from the earth. As an artist, you can have less of an ecological impact if you recycle the clay and make your own glazes and simply stick to those few glazes. Because I recycle so many of my materials, the water I use to wash them turns different colors. The prices are higher than usual for my products simply because they are more sustainable and worth the extra money.

J: Why did you choose this career path?
M: I got married in Mississippi and got a lot of McCarty’s Pottery as wedding gifts. I couldn’t continue to buy from them because it’s so expensive! When I was looking for a job and had a tough time finding anything, I started taking community classes in Bartlett, and I came across pottery.

4843533J: Has there been a highlight of your career?
M: In 2010, a small piece of mine was featured in Southern Living, and just last year I made all of the dishes for the new Cooper-Young restaurant Tart. Tart was on the cover of Memphis Magazine, and, because of that, so were my dishes!

J: Do you have a favorite artist?
M: That’s hard. I love Walter Anderson, and I think the breadth and depth of his work is outstanding. He himself was an outstanding artist, and the way he saw things was just incredible.

J: Do you offer art classes in your studio?
M: No, I don’t since I work and create my pottery out of my home.
J: What work do you most enjoy doing?
M: I make almost exclusively porcelain tableware, and I do a cobalt inlay or hand-paint. I throw on the wheel most things that I make, and I do a little bit of hand building with slabs, but those are trays and other things. Most everything is made on the wheel.

8471784J: What do you love about Memphis, and why have you chosen to base your career here?
M: I grew up here, and I moved to a very small town in North Carolina that was very provincial. I realized what great things Memphis had to offer. I always wanted to come back, and it took quite a long time to come back. I feel like the arts community here is very supportive, and I know that the community of my friends and customers is extremely supportive. If you move from Memphis to another place not as nice, you are able to see how great Memphis is.

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Posted in: Arts