Michelle Mills


One day I woke up and made my first critter.

All my Critter banks start by making two pinch-pots and joining them to make the basic hollow body shape. They rest under plastic for a few days and up to a week to firm up and wait for me to give them expression. Sometimes I know what they will become – but not always.  Images take shape in the mornings while in bed before becoming fully awake. Other times while reading, looking out the living room window, or watching the cats play, an image takes form. The Critters take a few days to develop their personalities once I begin to apply clay to the basic body. It is with the glazing and painting that their final expression comes to life. I hope you see and feel the happiness in my Critters.

My house and bird house banks are formed from rolled slabs of clay cut out with my patterns then pieced together. After the first firing the designs are drawn on then painted and clear glaze applied ready for the final firing.

The same process applies to my cups. Each is individually made from slabs of clay and hand painted.


Art has been my passion and comforter for a very long time. Watercolor, acrylics, wood carving in 2D and 3D, block printing, the list goes on. Recently, ceramics began by combining my block carvings and clay. This evolved into ceramic relief carving. Then came wheel throwing and slab building. That smooth, cool, supple clay had me hooked. Purchasing several “How To” books on ceramics came next. One on pinch-pots stirred my imagination. I began making critter banks. I hope you enjoy these whimsical Critters, banks, and cups.

Michelle Mills – Dallas, OR