Plant Based – Lisa Katzenstein

I spent my early childhood in Rome, and the early influences of colour and pattern have informed my craft ever since. I went to the Central School in the latter 1970s, a time and a place where old conventions of what “craft” was about were being overturned. Out were wood fired kilns and brown glazes, in were industrial processes such as slip casting, transfer printing and colour galore. It was there that I rediscovered my love of Maiolica, also known as tin glazed earthenware.

This is a technique long used in European ceramics such as Delft, where painting is applied to an unfired white glaze and afterwards fired up to glaze temperature. I love the softness and vibrancy of the colours achieved and I have developed techniques of layering colours together with wax resist and inlaid lines to create a totally unique look to my work.

After leaving the Royal college of Art in 1983, I developed my own range of China tableware, but in 2000 I decided to make one off unique pieces exploring the possibilities of Maioilca combined with my interest in plants. As the saying goes if a “weed is a plant in the wrong place” my vases are a home to them.

 I love the thorniness and invasiveness of plants; my work is a walk in the country not in the park. As far as shapes are concerned, I have concentrated on vases and lamps, which are basically decorative pieces with a function. My interest in landscape also fits in with this brief, my larger lamps in particular being painted with mini forests.

We moved to Hastings from London in 2007, when I joined the Sussex Guild in 2008 on the recommendation of an old RCA College friend Stephen Atkinson-Jones and have been exhibiting in the Shop and at Guild fairs ever since. I am now the current show coordinator for the Sussex Show in the third weekend in October at the De la Warr Pavilion in Bexhill.

At the moment in this strange idle time, I have devoted my time to drawing, developing my imagery for one off work, a new website, and a book “Modern Maiolica” which is on sale on my website

My ceramics and its techniques have made appearances in various publications among a long list are.

  • “Illuminating Practise” Ceramic Review, Nov/Dec 2002.
  • “Maiolica” by Daphne Carnegy, A & C Black 2011.
  • “The Future is Bright” Sussex Life, June 2012.
  • “Making Room” Making magazine 2014.
  • “The Knowledge” Ceramic Review, Nov/Dec 2015.
  • “The Potters Dictionary of Materials & Techniques” Frank & Janet Hamer, Bloomsbury 2018.
  • “Made with Love” Ceramics Monthly (USA) 2018.
Plant Based - Lisa Katzenstein

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