Making A Statement: Megan Schroll
Jun 25, 2020 10:19AM
By Liz Stevens
It all starts with a vision and a smooth mass of clay on a spinning pottery wheel.
Megan Schroll, the creator behind Megan Schroll Art, followed her passion and started creating and selling hand-painted, food-safe ceramic mugs, bowls, and other trinkets in 2015.
Her passion for ceramics began while she was a studio art major with a concentration in ceramics and sculpture at the University of Nebraska at Kearney (UNK).
“I didn’t start to play with clay until I went to college at UNK…I’ve drawn my whole life. I really like how, with ceramics, it is such a tangible thing,” Schroll said. “I liked having the two outlets.”
Schroll dove directly into the local art scene after graduating. “It’s been such a weird journey,” Schroll said. “With art, you get to pave your own way.” Currently, she works out of her home, where she creates ceramic dishware, home accents, jewelry, and whatever sparks her imagination. Her designs feature bold, black lines against a white background. Through this design aesthetic, Schroll tries to illustrate the contrast and balance in nature.
“In general, it’s very nature-related, or nature-inspired,” Schroll said. “In life there is a lot of good and bad—darkness and light. You need some darkness to fully appreciate the light. With my pottery, I use a lot of black and white. I really like pulling on those themes.”
Schroll said she often gets inspired by unconventional things like an abandoned shack or snails. She adds that she never knows where her creative process and inspiration will take her. With every piece, she just tries to make what she likes.
Some smaller pieces such as the ring dishes and suncatchers are entirely formed by hand, while larger pieces are made on the wheel, Schroll said. After the clay hits the wheel, Schroll’s creation starts to take shape and she can put necessary holes in the piece and create texture. From there, she paints her black underglaze designs on each item. Once the design is completed it goes into the kiln, after which a clear finishing glaze is added and the piece is fired a third time. From start to finish, the process usually takes between five and six days.
Gradually, she started sharing her creations on Instagram.
“I try to be very real on it and authentic—not so much as it's just a brand but the fact that I'm a person selling a part of me,” Schroll said.
Schroll said she started by selling her creations at fairs, earning the majority of her income that way. “I started out doing Art in the Park Kearney and Grand Island. Then, [I] grew into doing out-of-state shows in Colorado.”
In addition to craft fairs, Schroll’s ceramics are now available at Revival Omaha in Benson.
Schroll was connected to Revival Omaha through Mikey Thompson, whom she met at Handmade Omaha last winter. Thompson makes and sells furniture under the name Mid Mod Vintage at the Benson shop, said owner Steph Lambert.
Revival Omaha opened in July 2017. From the beginning, Lambert wanted to feature local artists in the community. Lambert said she tries to get each artist she features in once a year for a Benson First Friday (BFF) event, so shoppers can meet the creators. Schroll was the featured creator in February 2020, and her work has been in the shop ever since.
Schroll said she enjoys working with Revival because they make sure artists take home as much money as possible.
Along with stocking goods in select stores, she said she is working on building inventory for a new website.
Being a creator doesn’t come without a set of challenges. Schroll said all the new work she is doing keeps her busy and excited, “but I think maybe the hardest part would be...burnout, as far as like not allowing myself to take a break.”
Schroll said she is learning to set boundaries and trying to navigate which projects make the most sense.
“Another thing, like with my art and what kind of drives me is...I'm such a collector of things,” Schroll said. “I am very observant of nature. With art, I like very ‘trinkety’ items or things that you can collect and things that are original.”
The desire for originality translates into her art. Even if Schroll repeats a design in a piece, each one is unique.
Moving forward, Schroll said she is looking forward to building inventory to share and sell on her own website once she gets it up and running.
“What I'm looking forward to the most is more opportunities as the years go on,” Schroll said. “Seeing people excited about my stuff—it’s awesome.”
Visit meganschroll.com for more information.
This article first appeared in the June 2020 issue of Omaha Magazine. Click here to subscribe to the print edition.