I was born on December 10th, 1983, in Jacksonville, Florida. I was raised by the Reverend John Douglas Riley (1929-2007) and Dr. Janice Helen Miller. I enjoy the outdoors and an active lifestyle. I love working with my hands and trying new ideas. Over the last twenty years I have worked on perfecting my technical abilities in clay. I strive to make high quality wares that display a high level of skill. I think about function and how people will interact with my pots. I make sure functional pieces have durable glaze that will serve its purpose well. I want to make unique, amazing pottery that people will love and enjoy every day.


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.

After I took the first class in 10th grade, I didn’t go another semester without taking a ceramics class. I took eight classes total, the highest the school will let you take. I was only required to take one. I even took two over the summer. That was one of the best summers ever. At that time, they were building a new ceramics lab so we had the class at Atlantic Beach Pottery. That meant I could make pots all day and when I was done I was a few minutes from the beach and bike trails at Hanna Park.

Once high school was over, I decided to attend Appalachian State University in Boone, NC. I was used to flat ground and hot weather, so I wanted to try the opposite, mountains and some cold weather. I love the mountains and could live there again someday. I majored in Industrial Design. I love designing products and in the back of my mind, I knew that ceramics is a form of industrial design. I worked for a potter in Boone, where I threw production pottery. It was a fun job that not many other people could do. I also worked in the ceramics lab in the technology department, which is where most of my classes were for ID. App State was a great experience with tons of great people and a beautiful landscape. I spent a lot of time snowboarding, doing ceramics, playing soccer, hiking and learning. One project I worked on in school was my wine bottle furniture series. It was furniture where wines bottles were in
contact with the person using it. The “Wine Bottle Chair” got second place in a creative chair competition and was subsequently put in an art gallery where it sold.

Once College was over, I moved back to Jacksonville and found a job. I have worked a few different design jobs which gave me a broad knowledge of materials. I started working in the cast stone industry where I learned all about cast Stone, CAD, CNC cutting, construction and mold making. Then moved to the Theming industry (theme parks) where I learned a about resin, fiberglass, 3D modeling and other construction techniques. I am now currently working in the lighting industry where I learned all about how a business runs and designing and developing products. After college was first time in since 1999 were I didn’t have access to the equipment I needed to make ceramics. In 2008 I bought a wheel and a kiln. I officially started MAMRamics in 2009 and I set up my first studio in my mother’s garage. I started making custom ceramics pieces for people and doing local art markets. I have also done custom work for coffee shops and other businesses. I am currently working out of my home studio and will continue making great pieces for all to enjoy.