This week I am featuring the most stylish yet organic ceramic raku button creations that are made by clay artist Lisa Peters aka LisaPetersArt on Etsy from Closter in New Jersey, USA.
She writes: "I strive to find beauty in the imperfect circle, the ragged-unfinished edge and the slightly crooked line."
I asked Laura some quirky questions and here are her answers !
Why is it that you make what you make ?
I never set out to work in ceramic. I was a still life commercial photographer for about 10 yrs when I decided I needed to explore other mediums - a path which led me to fiber, quilting, mixed media and then finally an adult education course which started me working in clay. After about 2 yrs of private instruction I started working on my own, creating sculpture and exhibiting works in Mixed Media, until one day I was playing with a scrap of clay, that was to be part of a larger installation that turned out to be a bead. After realizing I did not have to incorporate the bead into my sculpture I fell in love with the idea of the Bead as ART in itself and soon thereafter began creating buttons.
Why is it that you do not make what others make ?
I don't know. Really, I am not sure why my designs are so different. I don't have a method or recipe for design. I never read directions, I played the piano "by ear", I get hives reading a map even when I don't know where I am going. I never set out to make a certain design, the design just comes to life thru my hands into the clay and then I do my best to refine it & poke holes in it. Creating something that looks like someone else's work would be unfulfilling to me, even difficult, sometimes I cannot even make my own designs twice (my regular customers are nodding their heads in agreement right now). That being said, I am sure there are many people in this universe who are my "creative twins" and we have not yet been introduced. I admire the work of other ceramic bead makers so much, their technique's and styles but I don't want to do what they do, I want to do what I do - My goals are to create pieces so that the person using them has something totally unique and to give them something less than that is not what makes me happy.
Do you mind placing items on Etsy that you like very much yourself but others do not seem to feel so ?
I have never tried to guesstimate what other people will like or dislike. Sometimes I play a little game and put something on etsy that I adore, is totally weird and has no obvious use and it's usually the first thing to sell. I have even titled the listings as "what is this?" or "Take a chance!" There is so much creativity out there it thrills me when things like that sell and I know it is going to challenge the buyer! I never underestimate the extremely talented etsy buyer !
Do you ever make items you do not like yourself but others do ?
I am learning to create for everyone or at least I am trying. I have customers, who are now Dear Friends and I will ask them, "What can I do to make this more user-friendly?" or "Is there anything I am doing that you would like me to change?" Sometimes I get caught up in a vision I have and then realize after I'm finished patting myself on the back on a job well done that "uh-oh, they aren't going to be able to use this without hours of frustration..." So I am learning to appreciate what it means to create for everyone's taste.
Most people desire both beauty and functionality but those two functions are often incompatible. How do you deal with this ?
Story of my life. I think I will just say "there is way, to make everything work". As an artist I cannot give in to this way of thinking, I just have faith that my vision is recognized by someone who can take it to the next level and make it work.
Why do you make buttons ? and, for example, not flowerpots ?
I create large sculpture and tiny buttons & beads and probably nothing in between. The desire is not there for anything else ceramic-wise or “utilitarian”—there are other people that do it much better than I ever could. I have a grouping of pitchers I made once, about 20 of them which have inspired me to have a garage sale soon—I’m sure most that saw them would agree !
And why are you working with ceramics ? and, for example, not with wood ?
I work with many mediums - My medium of choice for Buttons is ceramic. I admire the craft of other artists working with wood and shell but I find it easiest to express my vision with ceramic.
Could you satisfy your creational cravings another way ? for example through ballet, singing, photography or poetry ?
The only medium I no longer create in on a serious level is photography. As mentioned earlier, I was a professional photographer for many years and it was also what I studied at the School of Visual Arts, NYC for 4 years. I fell out of love with photography because I never gave myself an opportunity to explore other options—I was only 22yrs when I opened my own studio- I was very focused back then and never stepped off my career path. I enjoy photography today as much as any novice photographer taking pictures of their children, their pets and their gardens. I still create Sculpture, work in Mixed Media and also have a great love for Encaustic - I just rarely show my pieces online. I do exhibit from time to time in galleries in a Solo Show called "The Versatility of Ceramic, One Artists View" which shows my large sculptural pieces alongside as equals with my beads and buttons to educate viewers that there is as much beauty in a large piece of artwork as there is in a small tiny button and I am very pleased to say the response has been positive.
How do you choose your colours and shapes ?
They choose me. If you know my work, you know this is something I just can't ever seem to get right.. a red leaf, green lips, square buttons with 6 holes and beads with bumps and bruises... but again, there is something for everyone and I am glad there were people out there waiting for me to get here !