Monday, April 20, 2009

Buttons : Ceramic Artist Lisa Peters

Turquoise Mini Flower Shank Button - Handmade Ceramic - Raku Fired

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."

Four Hole Sew Through Handmade Raku Fired Button

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.

Handmade Raku Fired Ceramic Button in Celadon Glaze

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 !

Handmade Raku Fired Ceramic - Leaf Impression Buttons


Carol Dean said...

Thank you for featuring one of my favorite Etsians EVER! Lisa is such a talented artist, a lovely person, and an absolutely joy to work with. Quick, get what buttons you can, before I grab them all ;D

Scarf It Up! said...

I LOVE Lisa's work and have been fortunate to collaborate with her and Carol Dean of Sandfibers on one piece.

Great interview! I enjoyed reading ALL of it!

ira said...

Ah, great interview P8, Thanks for this feature, now I know about this talented artist!

:-) MaryLou said...

I have a whole bunch of Lisa's buttons, beads, and cabs (although I'm sure my collection doesn't come anywhere near Carol Dean's), and they're all WONDERFUL!

I keep stalking her flickr photostream in hopes that I might get to some of the new ones before someone else does. And I'm looking forward to the B&B Show so I can pick through them all in person. I think I'm going to need a big cart on wheels to haul them all away.

Jane_Bo said...

Thank you for interview with so talented artist! Her button-art is amazing!

ingermaaike said...

Fabulous work and a fun interview, thank you very much!

Kreativlink said...

Great read. And and outstanding artist. Beautiful!

Star of the East said...

Wonderful interview and gorgeous buttons!!

Triz Designs said...

I love Lisa and LOVE her work!!!! am lucky enough to own a few of her gorgeous pieces!

Thank you for interviewing her and allowing us to find out a bit more about the artist behind the beautiful creations! great post!

X by Leina Neima said...

Beautiful creation and wonderful interview... Thank you for sharing it with us :)

Dee Wilder said...

Insightful and thoughtful interview. I'm so happy to know more about Lisa.

SarahKelley said...

Loved the questions, answers, and of course, the work!

Ravenhill said...

Fantastic that you share with us! This is such incredible talent! The buttons she makes are little works of art!
~Emily xx

LeelaBijou said...

Wow, great feature! Her work is amazing!

lisa peters ART said...

Thank you for asking me to answer those great questions for your blog! And making it possible to see comments from people I really admire & adore and so happy to "meet" all the new people who read your blog!

Thanks again for your kind words!
lisa peters

Joan Tucker said...

Lisa is a marvel; I have her work here in my studio.
She is flamboyant and brave and makes stuff that pleases her and it turns out many other people.
Not so focused on what anybody else is doing,
not always aware it seems what a unique style she has.
I gain strength from her attitude in pursuing my own voice and I think many others do too.
Jump in and buy those buttons. Drop them in saucers, leave them in piles, sew them on things.. they are little works of art. Joan Tucker

Melody Marie Murray said...

I adore Lisa's work- thanks for featuring her! It was fun to learn more about this amazing artist.

Sigmosaics said...

this is a fabulous feature P8!! Lisa's work is incredible :-)

Thanks to you both for sharing!

jealousydesign said...

wonderful interview! gorgeous work!

ArtMind said...

I love Lisa's work! I think I saw it for the first time on your blog and hearted her ever since! She's an inspiring person and artist! :)

zsb creations said...

Fantastic interview, Petronella!

Mellisa - Chinook Jewelry said...

Isn't Lisa's work just awesome?! I love how she always stays true to her style.