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artist in focus: lisa stevens

How do you describe your work?

After a long and successful career as one of the senior sculptors at Aardman Animations, Lisa chose to focus on raising her family, using clay as a way to relax and remain creative. During these years, she has developed her own style through continual experimentation with clays, glazes and textures

I really enjoy the juxtaposition of bright colours on some pieces and leave others white to show the texture in its purest form, taking advantage of the alabaster-like translucency of the porcelain

What would you say are your greatest influences?

I am very much influenced by the way the clay works. I try not to fight with it, choosing to work with the organic edges that are created, rather than refine and lose some of the spontaneity. Early on in my ceramic career, I realised that my textures were reminiscent of corals, so I expanded on this, never copying per se, but thinking about the textures and forms of corals as I work. I also love other natural textures, such as flowers, lichens, fungi and moss

I really love the abstract forms and wall panels of Ruth Duckworth and was excited to learn about different ways of working with clay when I first started my ceramics evening class around twenty years ago

Who do you have in mind when you create your work?

I create the work for me. It’s a compulsion. I’m lucky I’ve found an audience who loves my work, which means I can continue to make new pieces and develop further

What makes your art different, special and irresistible?

The natural world is something that interests many people and the abstract nature of my work fits into a multitude of interior decoration styles. The colours are often bright and cheerful and I’ve been told that my work makes people feel happy

Although there are other artists worldwide, making ceramic coral, I have a distinct and recognisable style. Each piece is different and won’t be repeated. There’s something about a handmade, tactile piece that really connects someone to the artist

There are also a limited number of pieces. They take a long time to make and the ceramic process delays the completion even more, so I find that I’m not able to build up a stock. Potential customers often set an alarm, even in the middle of the night for those overseas, when I release new items for sale

What do people say when they see your collection / portfolio? How does your art make them feel?

Often people say that they’ve never seen anything like my work before. I have lots of followers on Instagram and even if people aren’t always in the position to buy a piece, seeing new pieces makes them feel happy. I am often thanked for sharing beautiful images

Of course, not everyone loves my work. I sometimes get comments about my textures triggering trypophobia (a fear of clusters of holes or bumps.) When you’re connected to the whole world through social media, there will always be some who take a dislike to your work

What do you think motivates people to buy your art? How does it appeal to the heart?

Each piece is different. There’s something very appealing about buying something that no one else has, something that has come from the hands and imagination of an individual. I sometimes feel that I’m sharing small pieces of my soul, it’s very personal work

At the same time, the natural world is always a popular motif to bring into your home. The pieces are joyful and bright and celebrate the diversity of different environments


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