designer michele michael
The beauty and simplicity of the ceramics that Michele Michael creates for her business Elephant Ceramics almost belies the breadth and depth of her life as an all-around creative. She has been a decorating editor for the US's House & Garden magazine, worked as a freelance prop stylist and opened a prop hire business. But when you look at her pieces, you can see that there's more than artistry at work. There is a deep knowledge of colour, texture, styling, photography and story. Almost as good as hers...
Which five words best describe you? Passionate, organised, earnest, motivated, driven.
How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? I was working at a boutique in SOHO where one of my clients was a decorating editor at House & Garden Magazine. She hired me to be her assistant. Knowing that I had gone to school to study fashion design she told me that if after a year I was not interested in interior design and I still wanted to pursue fashion she would do her best to get me a staff position at Vogue magazine. I’m not sure if that would have been possible, but it was an offer I couldn’t refuse, and lucky for me I loved the whole world of interior design! My very first shoot was with the photographer Horst P. Horst and I worked with other amazing photographers such as Sheila Metzner, Oberto Gili, Eric Boman, Todd Eberle and Francois Hallard shooting gorgeous homes and apartments. I quickly fell in love with the whole world of design and learned a great deal from working there. From there I went on to work as an editor at several other magazines, write a decorating book, produce interior design stories and style shoots as a freelancer, open a prop house called Elephant Props, and now hand make my own ceramics.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Be happy in the moment.
What’s your proudest career achievement? This is a tough one. I think I am proud of my career as a whole. For me it’s a constant evolution. There is still so much to do and learn.
What’s been your best decision? To take risks.
Who inspires you? So many people inspire me. People who do so much with so little inspire me. They inspire me to keep moving forward everyday.
What are you passionate about? Animals and nature. And working in clay.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Dr Dame Daphne Marjorie Sheldrick who has spent a lifetime saving orphaned baby elephants and baby black rhinos in Kenya. She lives and works in Nairobi National Park where she runs an orphan’s nursery and manages The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. Daphne Sheldrick has campaigned tirelessly at an international level against the abuse of captive animals and has promoted wildlife conservation worldwide. I would love to go to Kenya, meet Dame Daphne and visit the orphaned elephants.
What dream do you still want to fulfil? Traveling to so many places I still have not been such as India, Japan, Greece, Mexico, Vietnam, Argentina, The Seychelles, Madagascar, The Faroe Islands and many other places.
What are you reading? I love reading mysteries and thrillers. I just finish the book The Tourist by Olen Steinhauer, which was so riveting I didn’t want it to end.
images courtesy of elephant ceramics, portrait jennifer causey