1. What is your name (I may not always be able to tell by your email)?
My name is Susan Messer McBride, but I sign my pots ‘sam’ for Susan Ann Messer, my birth name.
2. When did you start coming to Lillstreet?
I started taking wheel classes at Lillstreet, back when it was located on Lill in Lincoln Park, in the winter of 1995. It was my first year teaching high school English and I took a class on the recommendation of a grad school professor who believed that effective teachers found a way to ‘stir the soul’ outside of the classroom.
3. What brought/brings you to Lillstreet?
What brought me to Lillstreet in 1995 is similar to what keeps me coming back each day: Working with clay stirs my soul and makes me feel complete. I respect the studio environment at Lill—serious yet friendly, focused yet loose.
4. What is the nature of your clay work -- functional or sculptural?
My work is functional wheel thrown porcelain.
5. What is your process? Do you sketch, prototype and conceptualize? etc.
Sometimes I see forms in pictures or magazines and I will try to replicate them. Other times it is about a shape that I want to hold in my hand for a mug, or a size for a bowl that might fill a certain need.
6. What or who influence your work?
I feel my work is influenced daily by other potters at Lill, whether I realize it or not. Influential teachers for me at Lillstreet include Patty Kochaver and Lisa Harris.
7. Do you work with other medium besides clay?
I mess around with painting for fun, informally and at home, but am interested in taking metals and photography in the future.
8. What are your duties as a monitor?
I am one of two glaze makers who mix and monitor the glazes at Lillstreet.
9. If there’s one thing you absolutely have to inform the Lillstreet clay community that would make your work easier, what would it be?
My, our, work is made easier when people have fun, clean up after themselves and look out for others’ work in the process.