MA workshop: reconnecting with pottery to get through mourning

Atelier MA: reconnecting with pottery to get through mourning

It was in 2013 that Atelier MA was born, a big leap that Michelle made following the deaths of her father and mother in the same year.

It is pottery that has allowed Michelle Ma Honglan to go through a double mourning thanks to her practice which is anchored in the beautiful, the useful and the symbiosis with nature.  

The artist grew up in China where she quickly encountered handmade work: her father built the bricks of their house in his workshop and her mother maintained a garden which served as her playground. Her passion for manual work and nature therefore comes from her roots, she explains in an interview with Métro.  

When she moved to Montreal, she worked for several years as a hairdresser, but her job had not satisfied her for some time. Physically, it was becoming too demanding for his aging body. But also, Michelle felt limited by the language and cultural barrier in her approach and contact with people.  

Getting started 

It was after the death of her parents, both of whom died of cancer in the same year, that Michelle Ma Honglan decided to take the plunge and change daily. 

According to the ceramist, an object must be beautiful, functional and made as close to nature as possible. Why make everything yourself? The uniqueness of the thing and the process, which involves seeing that we can recreate from the earth. Dwelling on life in the nature that surrounds her has soothed her and helped her through the death of her parents. 

However, practicing pottery without space is quite difficult. Someone around her found her, at the right time, a workshop where she could practice and teach: this is where, in 2013, Atelier MA was born, in Côte-des-Neiges.   

Atelier MA: reconnecting with pottery to get through mourning

Photo credits: Michelle Ma and Axelle Fassion

The ceramist rented it, without even thinking about the monthly price to pay. Laughing, Michelle Ma Honglan says that in order to pay the rent, she had to stop spending too much on clothes! 

A space to exchange 

< p>The place corresponded to what she wanted: a bright place. “Windows make my plants happy, which makes me happy. If they are happy, I am happy,” says Michelle Ma Honglan. His workshop indeed looks like a jungle, it shines with greenery. 

Atelier MA : reconnecting with pottery to get through mourning

Photo credits: Michelle Ma and Axelle Fassion

Michelle Ma Honglan wants to share her expertise and make people want to travel to deepen their technique. She passed on her passion to her daughter, who is a visual artist who is now studying industrial design.  

Initiation classes are offered at her workshop to learn how to spin his clay and make parts. You can also rent the space with friends or family to come and decorate porcelain – all the creative materials are provided, in addition to a tea service. You can even bring your little snacks and your alcohol to triple the pleasure.  

Atelier MA 
4180 avenue de Courtrai, Suite 280, in Montreal 

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