Celebrating Life Through Pottery
By Ellen Samsell Salas
Local potter Micki Soresi exudes energy, putting her positive spirit to work creating pottery, helping others, and dreaming big. She is especially dedicated to supporting Save the Horses in Cumming, where she volunteers and to whom she donates a percentage of her Horsehair Raku sales. As a child, she was drawn to many forms of artistic expression, but found her calling in making pottery, specifically raku pottery.
“There’s something about throwing on a wheel and feeling the clay move through your fingers,” Soresi says. “It has been a form of therapy of sorts.”
She credits her high school teacher, Taylor St. Clair, for introducing her to the art and for giving her the freedom to explore its possibilities. For graduation, her mother set her on her way, giving her a wheel and a kiln.
Now, Soresi focuses on alternative firing techniques, using ancient methods that involve rapidly heating a piece to between 950 degrees and 1,750 degrees, removing it from the kiln when it is still glowing hot, then utilizing different finishing techniques.
“Raku connects all my passions — animals, nature, pottery, and doing good for others,” Soresi says. “I like to work with fire and hot stuff. But more importantly, I can see the result immediately.”
While she also makes Baltic (Obvara) and glazed raku, Soresi has found her niche with horsehair raku. This technique involves removing the piece at 950 degrees then quickly applying horsehair to it. The hair burns into the piece, leaving black lines (carbon imprints of the hair) in beautifully unique patterns.
“With raku firing,” Soresi says, “I handle each piece one by one; each piece becomes an extension of me.” She embellishes some works with crystals, feathers, or seashells.
While she uses hair from rescue horses at Save the Horses, Soresi also takes custom orders, using hair provided by the client to honor or memorialize a pet.
“I try to connect with the people I’m working for,” she says. “Nothing I make is ever the same, just as each animal was unique.”
Each piece includes the animal’s name, and if desired, comes with a video of the creation of the piece. Twenty-five percent of all horsehair raku purchases helps Save the Horses, a nonprofit rescue organization where Soresi volunteers her time. She also makes memorial urns for people and pets.
When she isn’t creating, Soresi enjoys being with friends and family, attending workshops, teaching private wheel lessons, and offering “heart burning” parties where guests make their own raku hearts out of pet hair or feathers.
“Pottery was a positive outlet for me as a teen and continues to be,” Soresi says. “I enjoy sharing the sense of calm and order it can facilitate to others.”
To view her work, visit SoresiCeramics.com, or find her on Facebook and Instagram. Her pieces will also soon be available at the Cotton Mill Exchange at The Mill on Etowah.