Featured Artist Mary Kinzel Means

Ceramic artist Mary Kinzel Means presents a delightful collection of whimsical and symbolic sculpture. Visit her website to see more of her portfolio.


Figurative ceramic sculpture by artist Mary Means

“Prince of Wisdom” ceramic and mixed media, 13″ x 7″ x 8″


I’ve always been drawn to faces and expressions. I was constantly being chastised in grade school for doodling faces on my assignment edges, something I did without thought, throughout college and even now. The difference is that today I celebrate the expression rather than feeling at fault.


ceramic horse sculpture by artist Mary Means

“Spirit” ceramic and mixed media, 11″ x 4″ x 10″


When I’m on the phone, I sketch. If there is a paper and pen in front of me at a restaurant, I’m going to draw. My doodling and love of arts landed me at the University of Tennessee as an art major.


Three handbuilt ceramic vessels by Mary Means

“Dreamers Vessel Trio” ceramic and mixed media, 18″ x 14″ x 17″


Upon graduation I felt less than positive about making a living as a professional artist, so I ended up on the other end of the art spectrum as a consultant. After years of selling other artists, I discovered ceramics (something which I had never experimented with in school) and literally fell in love, thus starting my second career.


Handbuilt ceramic elephant sculpture by Mary Means

“Miss Molly” ceramic and mixed media, 10″ x 7″ x 13″


Beginning with a new untouched block of clay provides an extraordinary sense of endless possibilities. I usually start my process with a casual sketch of what I’m planning to create. That that often changes as the clay tells me who and what it wants to be.


figurative ceramic sculpture by artist Mary Means

“Balance” ceramic and mixed media, 15″ x 17″ x 7″


There is something fiercely organic about putting my hands in clay, a relationship, if you will, between earth and spirit. I have a connection with each piece and enjoy feeling the energy come through the clay. I love to just let go and let the clay tell me who they are and what emotion/feeling/expression they want to have.


Figurative ceramic sculpture by Mary Means

“Starting to See” ceramic, 11″ x 4″ x 4″


My primary method for sculpting is known as the coil style of handbuilding. It combines rolling coils of clay and slowly stacking and molding through creating pressure on each coil until properly joined. I incorporate various finishes including glazes, oxides, cold wax, metals, and found objects with multiple firings.


whimsical wheeled elephant sculpture by Mary Means

“Peanut Ride” ceramic and mixed media, 10″ x 9″ x 5″


I’m a tremendous animal lover with horses and elephants being two of my favorites to create. As much as I appreciate their aesthetics, it’s the symbolism that truly moves me. With strength and independence representative of the horse, and good fortune, wisdom, and protection symbolic of the elephant.


Encaustic and ceramic sculpture by artist Mary Means

“Midnight Musings” encaustic and ceramic, 12″ x 3″ x 12″


Dream imagery is another recurring theme in my sculpture, with the hopes of providing the viewer with an introspective sense of remembrance. Ultimately, my work is a connection between earth (clay) and the ethereal.  Sometimes whimsical, sometimes serious, but always peaceful, positive, and full of gratitude.

Mary Kinzel Means invites you to follow her on Instagram.


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