The website proclaims, “Welcome to Terra Cottage! Home of the Mud Poet.” On Planet Terra, words and art blend into a delightful and humorous line of products with wide appeal.
Michael and Victoria Terra have owned a production ceramic studio and gallery in their home for the past 12 years, located in an arts community in Paducah, Kentucky. They make a full-time living from their work, selling retail at fairs and wholesaling to galleries and shops.
Michael (aka ‘The Mud Poet’) and Victoria (‘The Logistics Goddess’) offer a cleverly created body of work which works on many levels. “Words play a huge part in the art,” explains Michael, “in order to make it effective, we need to engage the viewer in as many ways as possible.”
The textures and wording used while creating each ceramic piece are engineered to evoke responses and memories. Ceramic postcards are designed with the wonderfully aged patina of a found ancient object. Postcards are available with 66 different poems. They can be customized with addresses using the city of the gallery placing the order, and feature postage and cancellation stamps from all over the world.
Each piece of handmade stoneware is designed to be very tactile. Oxides and engobes are used in the process, and glazes may be either glossy or matte. Some pieces may actually feel like leather.
Sculptural objects, like the “Home Owner” series, are highly meaningful, with hidden items waiting to be discovered inside. Here, the eyes are literally windows to the soul. Each is individualized to focus on the distinction between a house and a home – because what’s important is what’s inside.
A new product which has recently become a bestseller is the “Quippy Cup,” a mug with a message and a glaze that Michael claims is “as soft as butter and silk.”
Because of the large diversity of words and messages, customers sometimes find it difficult to decide on which piece to purchase. Michael tells them, “You can’t make a mistake.”
Each is a reminder of our own memories and stories, immortalized in clay by the Mud Poet.