Excerpt from the article originally published by Voyage Michigan Magazine on August 3, 2022
Niikah, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin? I fell in love with ceramics while studying at Northern Michigan University when I walked into my first elective pottery class and never looked back. I spent much of my time while at school in the ceramic studio, endlessly refining my skills, ideas, and projects.
While at NMU, I was selected to study abroad in Romania for a semester at the University of Art & Design in Cluj-Napoca. My studies abroad gave me a whole new perspective on my life and the art world, and when I returned home, I began working with porcelain clay on projects that echoed deeper themes of my life. Some of the projects that started to develop during that time were translucent porcelain lighting fixtures to bring ambiance into a space; high-end dinnerware aimed at elevating the slow food movement and gourmet, local cuisine; and sculptural projects that portrayed the complex personal feelings I was having after seeing the world in a new light.
I also became a Studio Assistant to the program at Northern, investing even more time in learning the backside of running a studio through making all of the program’s clay, firing kilns, and maintaining the studio.
Graduation came during the lockdown of 2020, with my final project pivoting into a video/photography piece after leaving most of my work at school during quarantine. Left with my plans for post-graduation travel abroad suspended, I returned to my family’s farm for the summer to work on the fields again and watch the world change before my eyes.
It was during that time that I reached out to Michele Dupras, who was a local ceramicist & owner of Revisions Design Studio, to buy a small kiln for a make-shift studio I was putting together in a shed at the farm. After a few months, we met for the first time in her garage in Negaunee, and after I bought the kiln, she offered to sell me her studio and business. We had never connected prior to that day, but she had heard about me through other local ceramicists and felt that I would be a good fit to carry on her business while she shifted to spend more time with her kids.
I hadn’t had any plans to stay in Marquette or start a business, but I was intrigued by the opportunity and drove over that very day to look at the studio.
The Studio Gallery sits on Presque Isle, a quaint little stretch of land and park north of Marquette right on Lake Superior. As soon as I peeked through the windows of the timber frame building, with a porch overlooking the lake, high ceilings, and hardwood floors, I knew I was looking at my future.
Read the full Interview: Meet Niikah Hatfield - Voyage Michigan Magazine