I attended The Learning Tree for preschool, where I refused to take naps. I remember sitting on my cot playing with toys while everyone else was sleeping. I didn’t understand why all these kids around me wanted to go to sleep during the middle of the day. I guess I am just not a napper. After preschool I attended San Jose Episcopal day School for pre-K-6th grade. This is where I learned to read, write, and all of the other fun stuff. PE was my favorite. I had a very active childhood, I was always outside playing. I grew up surfing, skating, biking and playing sports, mainly soccer. I still play soccer, a lot. We would go to Highlands, NC every summer which it where I found my love of outdoors and mountains. After elementary school I attended Episcopal for middle and high school.
I vividly remember taking a tour of Episcopal when I was in 6th grade. It was a regular tour and it didn’t interest me that much, but we stubbles upon the ceramics lab and I was fascinated. I was intrigued how wet, weak clay can be formed on a wheel, then put it in a kiln and it magically changes and becomes something solid and something that you can no longer manipulate. I knew there was great potential. I was hooked before I could even try it. I felt so much excitement at that moment, I knew I had to learn more about it. Unfortunately, I couldn’t take a wheel throwing class until I was in the 10th grade.
When I was 14 my parents and I went to Ireland. It was a great experience; the country was beautiful and we saw a lot of history. Ireland is where I threw my first pot. We stumbled into a pottery shop (because of my recent interest in the category). My dad, being an outgoing person, started talking to one of the potters there. He told her about my newly found interest and she asked me if I wanted to try. I remember being so happy and of course I said yes. I went in the studio and she showed me how and I made my first pot. It was a little penny plate, it wasn’t too bad and I knew I would like to do more. My father arranged for them to send to pot back to me without me knowing and about a month later, I surprisingly receive my first pot in the mail. They glazed it for me and they wrote “Michael Reilly” on the bottom. They took out the Miller and used the more Irish version of Riley, but that was okay with me.