Michael Vorisek received his Bachelor of Science degree in Art Education from Edinboro University of PA, and he served in the US Army Reserve. For the past 30 years he’s taught art and design at the high school level. Along with his wife Maureen, they raised four children in a 160 year-old farmhouse on thirty acres in rural Northwestern Pennsylvania. Avid gardeners and homemakers, they live a sustainable lifestyle; producing and processing much of their own food from garden, farm, and forest.
Choosing an early retirement from teaching, Michael decided to pursue a life-long interest in ceramics, of making functional and decorative pottery designed for daily use and enjoyment. He is fortunate and blessed to be working out of the same studio that his father built for his own business many years ago.
The name Back Thirty was chosen as a play on the old phrase “the back forty” to indicate the 30 acres of fields, woods, and wetland that make up the land that they call home. It also references the number of years ago that the interest in ceramics first became an enduring fascination. The long connection to those thirty acres provide much of the inspiration for his work. The property is situated in a historically-rich and biologically-diverse area of Pennsylvania. The wetlands, woods, and farmland provide a depth of natural and cultivated diversity and a backdrop for creative inspiration.
As a gardener, the son of a farmer, and an outdoor enthusiast he has a strong connection to the land: spending much of his life studying and exploring the fauna and flora around him. It's this background that asserts itself in his work.
“...in all nature, for instance the trees, I see expression and soul…” –