I like to do handbuilding, and I’m not great at throwing large pieces on the wheel, so I handbuilt a large vase for my wedding so that people could sign it as our guest book. I liked the idea of seeing the signatures of people who celebrated with us instead of there being a book tucked away on a shelf out of sight somewhere. 

This [vase] has an emotional attachment to it. It’s on display in our home, and we see it every day. 

It’s bigger than any other piece I’ve done. I think it’s 10 or 12 inches.

My first class with clay was in high school. It was mostly handbuilding and a little bit on the wheel. I took one more in college, but I was excited to learn that I could continue with clay through all of the classes offered by the Goshen Clay Artists Guild.

I found myself taking multiple classes at the guild because I couldn’t stay away! Now I’m a member.

I’d seen the storm drain artwork in whatever the first year was – 2016? I just thought the project was cool, and I loved going around and looking at all of them. I thought about applying for it the following year, but I didn’t have a design ready.

This time I was like, ‘I’m going to try again and have something ready that I can use.’ What I produced then was just little doodles I had been doing over the years with wildflowers and such, Indiana native wildflowers. With the water and the wildflowers combined, I thought if we were talking about clean water and beautifying our city, I could use half of my mural to show crappy-looking water and sad-looking flowers. I would use the other half for cleaner water and bigger, healthier, beautiful wildflowers that attract pollinators.

It was fun and really exciting to be a part of it finally.

I know many communities are very artistically centered, and I love that Goshen is one of those. Goshen encourages artistic expression for people in whatever way that might be for them.

 People say, ‘There are so many clay artists in town – don’t you feel like you have so much competition in what you do?’ But I don’t see that as competition in any way! I love seeing and learning new techniques from other artists and celebrating and supporting the community’s creativity because, why not?

I’ve learned so much from ceramic artists in this community, whether because I took a class from them or talked to them on the street or at Arts on the Millrace.

At this time of year, bee baths are on my mind. I know many people who like bee baths for their pollinator gardens. It’s a bird bath but for bees, where they can stop and have a drink. I usually put marbles in them and have them on stands. I have relatively smallish, 7 ½ inch to 8-inch bee baths. You know those garden orbs? I just get the stand for those. They work perfectly for bee baths! I have pictures somewhere of bees stopping and drinking in one of mine. I usually check the water every couple of days. The water does evaporate – but when it rains, it overflows.

I like to include leaves and flower imprints in whatever pieces I’m working on during the summer.

Melanie Helmuth • Goshen Arts Council
Melanie Helmuth • Goshen Arts Council
Melanie Helmuth • Goshen Arts Council
Melanie Helmuth • Goshen Arts Council