January 2011 Spotlight Artist
Lisa Peters Russ
Name: Lisa Peters-Russ
Name of Business: Lisa Peters ART
Location: Closter, New Jersey
What do you call yourself?... Artist, Beadest, Ceramic Artist, Potter?
I call myself an artist. I was a professional photographer for over 10 years. When I decided to change the medium I worked in I started using everything from fiber to mixed media, film and eventually ceramic.. It would be strange to give myself a new title every time I experimented or used something new to complete my vision so I prefer Artist as what I call myself...when people need something more specific (which they have) I tell them I am an artist currently working in ceramic.
How long have you been working in clay? Since 2003, beads since 2006.
What clays do you use? I use all types of clay..
How do you fire? I bisque all my pieces to Cone 06. My Raku is Raku Fired in a Propane Clay Dog Raku kiln. I have a large Cress electric kiln for regular glazes and
I use a Small Paragon Caldera for Specialty Glazes.
Where is your working space/studio? Right now I use every available space I can to create even though I have a studio in my home its not always conducive to the way I work. My kilns are in the garage, in the basement and outside in an area I have created for Raku. This year I plan on opening a local commercial studio space where people can come see my work and I have also purchased some real estate in the Catskill Mountains of NY, a "retreat" of sorts where I plan on taking on alternative kiln firing with gas and wood and whatever other goodies I can come up with.
Do you work alone? Yes
Name the steps you have to making a finished piece of your work: Bisque, Glaze, Glaze, and probably Glaze again. I try to create pieces in the wet-clay stage as close to (my idea of) perfect as I can so I do not have a lot of sanding/finishing after the bisque firing. In the same way I could never take a photograph with the "intent to crop later" in the darkroom is exactly the same way I create in clay. For whatever reason I like to create as much of the finished design as possible in the green-ware stage..maybe glazing green-ware will be next for me as it is something I have never tried.
Favorite glazes? Raku Glazes of Course!!! Crystalline Glazes., my new obsession. Crystalline Glazes are so complex I do not think I will ever be studious or organized enough to create using them to their fullest potential, however, I am perfectly happy with the novice surfaces I have come up with so far. Last year I was very interested wiping glaze away and the natural clay as the finished surface.. I would like to see how I can take that to the next level this year. One thing I know for sure, that for me a glaze has to "do something" move, crackle, separate, crater, sparkle, etc. I do not like glazes that just "are".. that just sit as a color on top of some clay doing and saying nothing. That's why I think the clay Gods gave me Mother of Pearl. Just in case I chose by accident a "lazy" glaze I can always dress it up with Mother of Pearl. LOL.
Favorite themes, design inspirations? I am not able to copy or use inspiration as a guide for my work. I have tried and failed. I just sit with clay and it honestly tells me what to do from hour to hour. I see "stuff" around and wonder how it will look as a stamp but I have been doing this long enough to know that anytime I begin a creative session with an idea in my head of what I want to make it doesn't take long before I am on a completely different path. I am not a very talented artist as one would define "artist" in the portrait or landscape sense of the word. I cannot draw a picture of my cat, sketch a nude or paint the ocean. What I think I can do is create an emotion or a concept or a "look" from my pieces that jive with a look a designer is searching for. I can do pretty or industrial or primitive in terms of shape, texture and glaze but not subject matter.
Ceramic artists you admire? There is always something I admire about everyone's work (that I see). I must admit that I do not study the pieces of other ceramic artists unless they are on my flickr or my facebook, where I am usually looking at fiber and different types of art-more than ceramic art. I am drawn to the work of Nancy Schindler, MAK, Lisa Stevens, Vlad & Kremena, Kristie (artisan clay), Jordan (alchemist daughter) and so many others!! There are more and I am sure I am going to wish I listed them all.. but I am drawn to their individuality.
Where do you sell and show your work? I LOVE ETSY. The only way to sell OOAK pieces, easily online. It is beginning to be quite an expense but I see no other alternative for OOAK's. For artists who create "inventory" or made to order pieces, YES there are easier ways, but for OOAK's.. I have not been able to find one. I also do about 3-4 shows a year, Bead and Button being the largest show and Berks Bead Bazaar.
Advice to newbies? Find your own voice. Use other artists as a guide until you begin to see where your clay is leading you., but find your own voice. Do not copy. It will leave you feeling empty and hinder you from discovering your own individual style. Play with different types of clays before you purchase large quantities of clays because they all feel different and some are easier to work with than others but that depends on the individual and not the clay. Take a general pottery class so you can see how things work, how clay reacts to different firings and glazes while having a teacher by your side to guide you along before you begin all on your own... There are so many things that can be learned in 3 minutes with a professional that might take you weeks by yourself.
Favorite piece tool or piece of equipment? If I listed them the others might get jealous and not work as well.
Thanks for the great interview Lisa.
If you want to see more of Lisa's work follow the links below:
Web site: www.lisapetersART.com
Etsy Store: http://www.lisapetersart.etsy.com/
Stay tuned for our next Spotlight Artist Febuary 1st.