Potter, Lisa Peri, grew up on a farm in rural Victoria and spent most of her childhood playing with dirt and mud. After two decades working in Children's Services she has returned to her creative roots, & her love of mud, & now makes a beautiful range of stoneware.
tell us about your creative background & studies . . .
I enjoyed studying art in high school. My family painted and I grew up surrounded by creative makers. I would have loved to study art after high school, but was encouraged to seek qualifications in a field which provided job security. I worked in Children’s Services for over twenty years, the last six years primarily with refugee and migrant families. My first formal introduction to ceramics was in 2011. I joined a ceramics class at the Daylesford community house & joined Clay Space - a co-op supporting local ceramic artists. I then enrolled at Ballarat University and completed my Diploma of Ceramics in 2013.
how did your craft begin and how has it evolved to this day?
I instantly felt a connection to clay . . . however, I became completely addicted the first moment I sat at the wheel in February 2012. I felt an immediate sense of peace and excitement. Creating with clay makes me feel grounded, calm and peaceful. My response when creating is visceral. I have been planning, making, firing or glazing every day since.
'I have learnt that this wonderful journey I am on is never ending . . . '
is there anything you’d like to share about your creative process?
I remember being very frustrated in the beginning, my ideas and plans far exceeded my ability. Neville French, my teacher, was so calm and supportive and would say, 'just keep going - you learn by doing, practising and making mistakes'. You need to learn how far you can push the clay and discover the clays limits. My creative practise has continued to evolve by ‘doing’. I am constantly thinking and dreaming about my work. I always have a note book by my bed so I can record thoughts and dreams.
is there anything or anyone that inspires you or your work . . . where do you look for inspiration, or does inspiration find you?
My work with refugee families has positively affected every aspect of my life. Each family’s resilience, connection and hope is such an inspiration. My local community and diversity in culture and food also influence my work. I also find inspiration in my garden . . . the process of growing, nurturing, harvesting and cooking connects me to the changing seasons. I find inspiration in my relationships and my connections to people. An emotion-evoking memory of my nana or a past conversation also motivates my work.
'My creative practise has continued to evolve by ‘doing’'
what has your creative journey been like so far?
Initially making required me to be patient, determined and to focus on the actual ‘building’ of each object. As I begin to develop confidence and skills, my focus has now shifted to expressing ideas and thoughts through my work. My work is more reflective of me. I am now producing work that I feel connected to and I believe to be more resolved. I am making for me, not for what others find pleasing, I make from my heart now, not my head.
what’s one of the most important things you’ve learnt about being an artist?
I have learnt that this wonderful journey I am on is never ending, evolving, challenging, exhilarating and heart breaking. I understand that I will, and must, move along the journey, celebrate the wins, learn from the lows and keep being brave.
'I don't think anyone should be excluded from feeling the delightful pleasure
of holding a handmade cup while drinking their tea'
do you have any insight or advice you’d like to share with inspiring artists?
Keep working, keep working, and keep working. Experience life, travel, visit exhibitions, see live music, eat out, find like-minded people and be true to yourself.
is there anything you hope your artwork brings into people’s live or gives to the world?
I like to think I am making pieces with love, for a wide range of my community. My inspiration comes from days gone by, when we all would have had relationships with our butcher, baker, etc. I am the village potter, who provides handmade ceramics for my community at affordable prices. I don’t think anyone should be excluded from feeling the delightful pleasure of holding a handmade cup while drinking their tea.
what’s one of the most exciting things to happen in your creative career so far?
Everything is exciting! I have had many great opportunities to work with inspiring people. Each little step I take in my career is so satisfying and encouraging. I feel so lucky to have this opportunity to live my life doing what I love. Everything that happens after that is such a bonus.
'I live a simple life in Blackwood, surrounded by the Wombat and Lerderberg State forests. My partner and I have four wonderful children who bring joy to our lives by spending time together.'
what do you love most about Australia?
I love Australia for the opportunities it provides my family and I. I love the stability, the safety and peacefulness. I love my local community, the sense of connection, support and belonging. My natural environment is beautiful. I love the flora and fauna and living in the bush. I love that I live one hour from Melbourne and, as I write, two kangaroos jump past my window and kookaburras sing - blissful.
visit Lisa's makers page to see her range of stoneware
It's great to know you better, Lisa, & thank you for sharing with us!