Our Spotlight on the Arts is shining brightly on local ceramics artist Kate Harrison Muchnick!
We happened to see Kate’s beautiful sea-green mugs on the Facebook page for Enso Kitchen and were so impressed! Propped in front of these beautiful pottery pieces was her business card stating “100% of profits support conservation of The Chesapeake Bay” – we knew we had to learn more!
Kate enrolled in her very first wheel-based pottery class back in high school when she was residing in New Haven, Connecticut. A local studio was offering continuing education courses which she signed up for, along with her mother, for sessions two nights a week. Fast forward to 25+ years later, Kate now has her very own in-home studio and is still joined by her mother from time to time!
As a younger artist, Kate found herself to be very focused on the throwing process itself – trying to control the clay and create specific shapes. More recently she has become more interested in glaze chemistry and surface decorations. None of her pieces look the same but one common thread that she does identify is a deep love of nature which inspires all of her creations. Many of her pieces have either leaf prints, images of animals, and/ or landscapes either solo or interwoven together.
One of Kate’s favorite medium is stoneware, which she says is relatively easier to work than other clays and the white color allows bright glazes to shine. She also enjoys using glaze like watercolor and painting on top of pottery bisque, similar to the classic hobby art of china painting.
Mrs. Muchnick launched an Etsy shop (Chesapeake Designs Co.) in partnership with her husband Barry, from which the profits from all of their sales go directly to support local environmental conservation (through the St. Mary’s River Watershed Association and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation) – thus completing the circle from idea inception, creation, and giving back to the community.
When the COVID-19 pandemic started, Kate realized that she would not be able to travel to the pottery studio at the Annmarie Sculpture Garden & Arts Center. Barry converted their basement into a pottery studio which has “truly been both a personal refuge and yet also a way to reach out and connect with others.” By having a dedicated space, Kate was able to make more products and increase her sales and fundraising efforts. By establishing partnerships with local businesses (such as Two Hens Feed, Seeds and Bees, Enso Kitchen, and Annmarie Gardens) our featured artist has been able to expand and sell at on-site locations.
Kate’s day job involves running a branding and marketing firm (Kate L. Harrison Consulting LLC) which allows her to work with many local nonprofits, helping them communicate the great programs and services that they offer both visually and digitally. She enjoys both this and her pottery work and finds them to be a nice complement to each other in terms of missions and helping others. As Kate explains, “I feel so lucky to be part of such a robust and supportive community of people working to make the world a better place!”
Thank you Kate for being a valued part of our artistic community and for your support of the beautiful area that we live in, you are truly an inspiration to us all!
Learn more about our featured artist at the links below:
Photos provided by artist except for photos of Enso mugs credited to: Enso Kitchen on Facebook (@ensokitchen)