Michael Simon


Edited by Susan Stokes Roberts

Foreword by Warren MacKenzie, introduction by Emily Galusha, essays by Mark Pharis and Glen R. Brown, author interview by Mark Shapiro

Michael Simon

140 pp., 9 x 11.25, 112 color illus, 15 b&w illus.

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-8078-7214-7
    Published: August 2011

Buy this Book

To purchase online via an independent bookstore, visit Bookshop.org

Northern Clay Center

With clarity and a simple lifestyle as inspiration, Michael Simon creates pottery that claims a singular position within our modern culture. In 1980, after ten years of potting, Simon felt the need to keep a record of the development of his work. Before any sorting, he began to save one pot from each kiln load. The pots he chose were not always the best but often were an example of a desired form achieved, a new motif realized, or an expression brought to comprehension.

This beautiful book is edited and art directed by Susan Stokes Roberts, an award-winning designer married to Simon. Here, she records the life of an artist, placed in context with a foreword by his teacher Warren MacKenzie; commentaries by his colleague Mark Pharis and art historian Glen R. Brown; an extensive interview with the artist by Mark Shapiro; and more. Over 100 striking color photographs chronicle the evolving nature of Michael Simon's work, vividly showing the way one pot leads to the next. Adding to this rich collection is the potter's own voice. Simon reflects on his forms, his craft, and his life, revealing the decisions behind and emotional connections to his labor.

This volume offers a wonderful, in-depth look at the development of an enormously influential American potter.

The contributors are:

Glen R. Brown

Emily Galusha

Warren MacKenzie

Mark Pharis

Susan Stokes Roberts

Mark Shapiro

Michael Simon

About the Author

Susan Stokes Roberts is an environmental graphic designer, a painter, and professor of art at the University of Georgia.
For more information about Susan Stokes Roberts, visit the Author Page.


"This is the best summing up of a talented potter who exemplifies that 1960s inspired revitalization of the American craft scene. For readers who are interested in making or collecting ceramics, this is essential."--Library Journal

Evolution is an essential addition to any art studies collection that wants to embrace ceramics and pottery further.”--The Midwest Book Review

"This book is a treasure, and not just for insiders who will appreciate the gorgeously reproduced images of the works of Michael Simon, a maker's maker who sensitively combines tradition and personal expression in his work. It's also a marvelously accessible explanation, in the artist's own words, of how forms come into being, why function does not exclude meaning and how details combine to make or break the whole: a rich lesson in how to experience pots."--Janet Koplos, co-author of Makers: A History of American Studio Craft

"It is wonderful that at one time he realized that his better works were all sold or given away and so he began to save the best out of every firing. These pieces are what we now have to illustrate the changes and growth of his work. He has made a significant contribution to contemporary ceramics."--Warren MacKenzie, potter and Professor Emeritus of Art, University of Minnesota

"Because of the uncanny power of his work, Michael Simon became one of the most influential potters of his generation. His compelling vision of functional pottery transformed students who took his workshops and pottery pilgrims who made the trek to his rural studio. With the revelation of his off-round forms thrown on the wheel and his powerful iconographic motifs, Michael Simon opened the door to a more personal way of thinking about the functional pot. 'Evolution' is a window onto the creative process itself."--Mark Shapiro, potter and editor of A Chosen Path: The Ceramic Art of Karen Karnes

"This beautifully illustrated survey of Michael Simon's evolution as a masterpotter

reveals an ongoing exploration of ceramic forms with links to distant origins in human necessity. With utility as their touchstone, Simon's works have conjured universal principles from the long and varied history of pottery even as his distinctive, soft-spoken aesthetic innovation has taken its place among the major achievements of modern studio ceramics."--Glen R. Brown, Professor of Art History, Kansas State University