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M4 Studios

M4 Studios includes my pottery studio, the M4 Roadside Gallery, the M4 Gallery, wood fueled kilns, and our home. The M4 Gallery also features work by Kesra Hoffman, Alan Clingan, and Joy Bridy.

M4 Studios is located, in Keedysville, MD, among the beautiful rolling hills of Central Maryland. We are surrounded by history and outdoor adventures with Antietam Battlefield, the Appalachian Trail,  and the C&O Canal nearby.

Kirke creating a ceremonial reliquary

Kirke's Story

I grew up in Nashville, TN with amazing and supportive parents and three wonderful siblings.  My parents and grandparents had sturdy, attractive Louisville Stoneware and Mary Alice Hadley Pottery in their cupboards that were used daily. My grandparents always had tasty cookies stored in a Mary Alice Hadley cookie jar. I loved reaching into that jar. We made trips in the summers to Hallelujah Pottery in Monteagle, TN to see the studio and buy handmade pots. My parents would buy beautiful gifts and treasures from  McCarty's Pottery of MS and Timothy Weber from TN. Looking back I feel that this exposure played a significant role in my immediate passion for clay.   I took my first pottery class from Susie Symons, as a Junior in high school at Cranbrook, and knew immediately that it was what I wanted to do. 

 

I loved playing sports and working with my hands. In high school,  I had the amazing opportunity to attend boarding school at Cranbrook, in Bloomfield Hills, MI. This opportunity has had a direct impact on most aspects of my life. I was immersed in sports and a creative and diverse environment. I was very lucky! After high school, I pursued my BFA in art with a concentration in ceramics. This was a long challenging journey for me but I was exposed to many great adventures and inspiring teachers along the way. After a tour of  schools (New York, Montana, Colorado, Oregon) I found myself back in TN at the Appalachian Center for Crafts with Vince Pitelka, Stephen Robison, and Cathy Guss there teaching and guiding me. Along with many creative peers, I was fully immersed in the studio making pots and firing kilns. It was a dream. I finally wrapped up my BFA and immediately found an apprenticeship opportunity with well known potter, John Glick in Farmington Hills, MI. I had visited his studio and showroom many years before, while in high school, and watched him dance the Texas Two Step with his wife and my teacher Susie Symons. While it was a very busy and exhausting year with my commitment to Plum Tree Pottery and John as well as holding a couple other jobs, it was also an experience of a lifetime. To see John bound up the stairs with excitement and move gracefully and efficiently around the studio as he made pots and glazed was mesmerizing. I learned far more than I ever could have imagined and developed a very close bond with John and Susie. I miss him deeply.

From Michigan I followed my partner, Meghan Nealis, to England where she was pursuing her PHD at Cambridge. My plan was to take some time to explore and learn about British Studio Pottery. I was fortunate to get an opportunity to work with Micki Schloessingk at Bridge Pottery In Gower, Wales. I had a great time with Micki building a new kiln, exchanging ideas, firing her kiln, and learning from her. She is generous, an incredibly hard worker, and great potter! We developed a great friendship and I am grateful for the opportunities she gave me.

I was naive and excited, full of energy, and ready to start my own studio. I moved back to the Eastern Shore of Maryland where Meghan's parents very generously let me live, set up a studio and build a 16 foot wood fueled kiln in their yard. I know, it's wild. In 2004 we moved to Keedysville, MD where, along with Meghan's support, I established M4 Studios. I rehabbed the studio and showroom which had formerly been my friend,  Ron White's, Antietam Pottery, and built a few wood kilns.  Over the years here in Keedysville, I have done and still do anything it takes to ride the ups and downs of keeping the studio going... craft fairs, wholesale shows, teaching, studio sales, studio events, remodeling homes, and carpentry.  In 2009, when our first son was born I slowed the studio down to a trickle and was a stay at home Dad as we welcomed another son in 2011, and another in 2013. This was a very special time for me, and life ebbs and flows!

M4 Studio now includes my pottery studio, 2 wood kilns, electric kilns, M4 Roadside Gallery, M4 Gallery, and a home that I share with my wonderful partner Kesra Hoffman. You can find her beautiful landscape painting on her website and in the M4 Gallery.

Kirke creating a sculptural piece during a demo at NOMA gallery in Frederick, MD
Lidded jar
Kirke doing demos for students at the Bowman House in Boonsboro, MD
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