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Michael Upp

He studied ceramics at Arizona State in the 1970’s.  After graduation, he developed his first studio in an old tobacco barn in an artist community on 300 acres in the hills of northern Tennessee.  He was a dedicated student of the art form and produced functional pottery for a wide variety of markets for over the next 8 years.  

He exhibited at all the major art shows at the time, as well as winning numerous awards at these events, some of which were in in; Ann Arbor, Michigan, Asheville, North Carolina, Chicago, Illinois, Washington, DC, Nashville, Tennessee and the major shows in Florida.  After a number of years developing his craft, he moved back to Phoenix and joined a cooperative ceramic’s studio.  During this time, he became the Executive Director of the Tempe Art Festivals, where the fall festival consistently had over 250,000 attendees, 350 artists and had 9 stages of entertainment.  After several years in Tempe, he left the art world and joined corporate America, where he spent most of his career in the high-end software business in senior marketing and sales positions.

Now 25 years later, he has come full circle and is back in the art world and is developing a new studio in Cornville, AZ, with his wife and partner, Sharon.  The studio is called, Earth and Fire Ceramic Design and has a primary focus on designing functional and decorative ceramic art for the kitchen, home and garden.  One of his fascinations with ceramics is striving through repetition to create perfect forms and  compliment them complex glaze treatments.


Sharon Upp

Her early inspiration in clay came as a student of pre-Columbian art in Mexico City where she often visited the National Museum of Anthropology to view and absorb Meso-American Art.  While in Mexico, she was able to spend time in the famous studio of Dona Rosa in Oaxaca and observe her creating her internationally famous black pottery.  Over the years, she traveled widely throughout Latin America and Europe and visited the ruins of earlier civilizations to study their art forms first hand.  Mexico has had a profound influence on her life and inspired her to author a book about the life of Angeline Beloff, the artist who was Diego Rivera’s first wife.  The book is entitled, “House on the Bridge:  Ten Turbulent Years with Diego Rivera.” 


She has studied ceramics in Southern California, Portland, Oregon and Sedona, Arizona before co-creating Earth and Fire Design Studio.  Her earlier work and study in Latin America and Europe has had a major impact on her creativity and approach to working in clay.  She is inspired by the beauty of the nature that surrounds her and strives to incorporate these influences into the free-flowing forms she produces

Find Mike and Sharon Upp on Facebook at :

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