Grateful Dad Pottery

About Us

About us: A few years back I received this really cool t-shirt, the image was a white lightning bolt between blue and red accents that stated simply, Grateful Dad. It was a fine Father’s Day gift from my children. And yes, I as a music fan, thought it was the coolest thing ever. So, to celebrate this feeling of gratitude Grateful Dad Pottery began with the abundant love and support from our family. Our mission is to create beautiful stoneware for food, beverage and dynamic sculptures for home and garden.

Why did I choose to work in clay? Clay comes from the earth’s crust slowly eroding into microscopic particles over time. In our hands it shares a willingness to become what it hasn’t been before. Clay is a conduit for our human experience; our emotions, our stories, our imagination. Clay connects our past to the present while suggesting a promise to the future. And, even with technical advances in programmable kilns, glaze chemistry and kiln atmosphere monitoring, there’s still some magic going on at over 2200 degrees.

Looking back, I have played with clay most of my life. I grew up in a home overlooking the Willamette River. As kids we dug clay out of the riverbanks, made mud baths, had some wicked clay fights (stings when there’s too much sand in it) and made many a crude sculpture left to bake in the sun. My fabulous high school ceramics teacher, John Lortz (who sometimes begrudgingly looked the other way when I skipped English class to work in the studio) encouraged artistic and technical exploration. Through his support in Lake Oswego, I continued to learn and grow, eventually teaching high school ceramics myself.

Our current studio began 2015 while day touring. We drove by a small-town pottery supply store. I don’t recall the exact reason why we stopped but we did…and brought home a fussy 30-year-old updraft gas kiln. We currently fire natural gas and electric kilns.

That random purchase started my turning one of those corners in life.  Now, I'm on the second leg of a return trip home to being me; I’m a potter and I can’t help it. Our fully equipped studio is full of projects and we're on the road to see what’s around the next bend.

Our first public appearance was at the 2016 Clayfolk Show and Sale in Medford, Oregon. Being an older potter with a new business can be challenging, like building this webstore! (but it's part of the journey) So, regardless of what you’re looking for, whether intended for beverages, food or simply acknowledging the freedom to enjoy a piece that connects with you, we're sure you'll find it here.


Michael and Liz McKinney


Grateful Dad Pottery makes a variety of handmade stoneware items for home and garden. Each piece is hand crafted, whether a drinking vessel, fermentation crock or garden sculpture.