"Welcome to Bad Wolf Pottery. I make one-of-a-kind decorative and functional work for the home. Whether you're a designer, collector, or cook; you'll find something here to compliment your unique style."
Michelle D. Coakes, Owner, Potter
I am a potter.
I learned to make pots in high school, starting in 1974. I was lucky enough to attend a high school outside of Chicago, that had a strong art department. We were offered courses in drawing, painting, printmaking, jewelry and ceramics. I fell in love with clay. And that love has never faded. After graduating from high school, I continued studying ceramics, first at the local community college, and then at Northern Illinois University. Next, came a short apprenticeship at a small pottery in northern Wisconsin, where I honed my throwing skills. It was during this apprenticeship that I also learned the challenges of making a living by making pots. With that in mind, I returned to NIU and completed my Master of Fine Arts degree, with an eye towards college teaching.
I was a professor.
I moved around the country after earning my MFA, teaching at various colleges and universities. In 2001, I moved back to Illinois to take a position at Lincoln Land Community College in Springfield. I loved teaching, but I also loved making pots. I bought land in Christian County, near Taylorville, and built a house and pottery studio. The studio includes a gallery showroom and teaching classroom. In 2018, I retired from LLCC, and dedicated myself to running Bad Wolf Pottery full time.
I remain inspired.
I am happiest at my worktable, assembling thrown and hand-built parts into a variety of vessel forms. Some of the work I make is finished (glaze fired) in an electric kiln. Some of the work is finished in a wood-kiln that I built on my property in 2017. I fire the wood kiln twice a year with help from several other potters in the area. All of the work is intended to be used, so all glazes are food safe.
My inspirations are varied and numerous. Like most artists, they include my past experiences, my personality, and my environment.
I have lived in many places around the country, and visited many more around the world, but until I moved to Christian County, I have never lived in what could best be described as farmland. It is flat. You can see for miles in any direction. And my property came with a LOT of sky. The wind is ever-present. The fields change color and texture year-round. There are coyotes and deer and foxes, owls, hawks and eagles. All of these things find their way into my work.