The Maker City monthly blog takes a look at locations where makers are found in The Maker City and features some of Knoxville area’s outstanding makers – artists, crafters and so much more. This month’s blog introduces one of Knoxville’s most beloved Maker Spaces, Mighty Mud, run by former Mayor’s Maker council member Barron Hall, and ceramicist Arthur Hsu of Clay Daddies.
Barron Hall of Mighty Mud
How did Mighty Mud get started as a retail and Maker Space?
From the beginning Mighty Mud was a planned Maker Space, especially with ceramics. It is much more financially feasible to work in a group setting as ceramic artists; we are able to share the costs. Large monetary items such as kilns, pottery wheels, slab rollers, etc., make it very difficult for a single individual to get started by yourself.
What do you offer, and how?
That's a big question. We offer small single-night events on weekends, like a date night; we have six-week classes that teach you all the things you need to learn about ceramics. We offer individual studio spaces for artists -- not just ceramic artists -- that rent monthly with 24 hour access, high speed internet, power, etc. We have a retail space that sells ceramic supplies and an everyday art gallery, plus a First Friday gallery space that turns over monthly hosting First Friday receptions. We also have online sales that ship throughout the country.
How can people participate with/support Mighty Mud?
127 Jennings ave Knoxville, Tenn. 37917
Brief bio: Artist, business owner, and educator Barron Hall lives in Walland with his wife Ursula and an old tabby cat called Nudge. He holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in ceramics from the University of Tennessee. Hall owns and runs Mighty Mud Studios, and teaches ceramics, sculpture and art history courses at Maryville College.
Arthur Hsu of Clay Daddies
How did you get started as a ceramic artist?
I relocated to Knoxville in 2016 and was looking to find a creative community and things to do. A colleague suggested pottery at Mighty Mud, so I signed up for my first of several wheel throwing classes. I met my former partner there and we started Clay Daddies, offering our ceramics in markets, galleries and shows in Knoxville and Nashville. Since then, I’ve explored my creative side and ventured from “traditional” functional pottery to my current fun, whimsical ceramics.
What does Clay Daddies offer?
My ceramic art is an expression of the fun, unusual and potentially controversial ideas that pop into my head with the goal of bringing a chuckle, smile and/or a blush to my audiences. Although some of my art skews towards R-rated or NC-17, it’s ultimately about having fun and pushing the envelope with my sculptures and functional wares to drive conversations.
Where can people find you?
My studio is located at Mighty Mud where my ceramics are available in the gallery. I can also be found on my personal social page @ruhtraush along with @claydaddies
Brief bio: Born and raised in the Maryland-D.C. area, Arthur Hsu studied mechanical engineering at the University of Maryland College Park. After changing careers to work in the lifestyle media industry, he discovered a love of travel, art, food and local cultures. He’s now settled in Knoxville, but “I’m not opposed to traveling to Tokyo or Amsterdam for a weekend of fun.”