Michael Ashley grew up on a farm in Green County Mo., where he explored the rivers and streams of the Ozark Mountains. He graduated from College of the Ozarks with a BA in painting and ceramics then moved to Tachi, Taiwan, where he did a one-year pottery residency at Taiwan National University for the Arts. In 2010 he graduated from the University of Mississippi with an MFA in Ceramics. He has taught at Missouri State University, the New York State College of Ceramics Alfred University and Tyler School of Art Temple University in Philadelphia. He is currently making pots in Tupelo, Mississippi, at Ashley Studio Pottery and teaching at Northeast Mississippi Community College.
In describing his work, Ashley writes: "My work invites touch, like a stone plucked from a riverbed. I love pots that are smooth in the hand but have a rugged, natural beauty. I observe a constant erosion and evaporation that takes place in my daily environment. I strive for layers of visual depth combining sheen, matte and crackled surfaces."