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Potter teaches animal-figure ceramics workshop


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Photo by Wanda Jackson. Lisa Naples, second from left, shares her techniques for making decorative and functional ceramics at Greenbelt Community Center.

Photo by Wanda Jackson. Lisa Naples, second from left, shares her techniques for making decorative and functional ceramics at Greenbelt Community Center.

Published on: Wednesday, March 13, 2013

By Wanda Jackson

In Lisa Naples’ Pennsylvania-barn studio, crow and hare images adorn pitchers, bowls, vases and large jars. The crows have long, black beaks, which provide the perfect gesture on pitcher spouts. The crows’ yellow, inquisitive eyes and sleek bluish-purple or brown feathers make them perhaps far more human than they should be.

Naples’ “animal figures” were part of a weekend ceramic workshop offered through the Greenbelt Recreation Department Arts Program in partnership with Greenbelt Pottery.

The two-day, hands-on workshop, “Animal Figures and Found Objects,” took place March 2 and March 3 and included an artist talk and reception at the Greenbelt Community center.

Workshop highlights included construction techniques and colored slip decoration using dry and wet-brush techniques. It culminated with each participant creating a functional earthenware work.

When she was 17, Naples took a pottery class as a college freshman for fun.

“That was 1978,” Naples said. “Even though I wouldn’t come to know it in a conscious way for another four years, that simple exposure was enough to begin a lifelong relationship with clay. From that moment on, I built my life and decisions around what was next for me in ceramics.”   

Naples received her Master of Fine Art from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in 1988.

In 2010, Naples was awarded the prestigious “Best of Philly” award in the “Gallery Artist” category. Also in 2010, her work was featured in the publication “Masters Earthenware: Major Works from Leading Artists.” In 2005, she was awarded a residency at the Australian National University in Canberra, Australia.

“I’ve always counted myself very fortunate to have found such a meaningful path that just about always seems to have arrows pointing me to the next direction … and to be so engaged and compelled by my chosen career,” Naples said.

“At this stage of the game, I have faith in the creative process to the point that even when I can’t see the direction ahead I know that if I can make space for play and practice, I’ll be fine,” she said. “And I always am.”

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