Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Prison Radio Project Plates



As some of you may know, prior to becoming a full time ceramicist, I worked in community development, focusing on issues of homelessness in families and individuals in New York City and in San Francisco. My work took me to all corners of those cities- and enabled me to meet many different people, who I would not have otherwise had the opportunity to interact with. It was a rich and complex experience,  and I learned a lot about the politics of homelessness and how disenfranchised communities remain so. 
I have looked for ways to bridge what I am doing now with ceramics to benefit many of the wonderful non profit organizations that work tirelessly supporting these folks that no one else can or will. I always donate a percentage of my annual proceeds to community groups but this year wanted to take it to the next step.
I am often asked to donate work to auctions that groups have and hesitate because often they do not bring in nearly their worth and this leaves valuable donation money on the table. I am an avid listener to publicly supported radio stations like KQED and KPOO here in San Francisco. They rely heavily on listener donations and offer multiple perks to give. It is a good strategy as it incentivizes people to give if they feel like they are also getting something tangible in return.
I thought that maybe a more targeted donation of product would be a better way to support these groups than the traditional auction route. I had become interested in the work of the Prison Radio Project- first hearing the powerful recordings on KPOO radio. They offer a voice to incarcerated individuals who simply can call in and record a message that is broadcasted on various radio stations around the country. No matter what your views on prison, or prisoners rights, offering a voice to those in prison who have lost theirs, is a powerful part of rehabilitation. If they feel as though they are being heard, they can begin a road to renewal and entry back into society. No one else is doing this work and they are very small and always in need of financial support. I offered to create a set of plates for them to use as an incentive to give--that reflect my own interpretation of the work that they are doing.
And here they are. 







Please visit their website here to learn more about their work and if you are interested, making a donation and getting these special edition plates.

You can also order them directly from me and 100% of the proceeds will go the Prison Radio Project. I am hoping to build on this more directed donation concept with some other groups and also hoping to get other artists involved. If you are an artist interested in working with me to enhance the donation value of your work in your community-please get in touch here.
And stay tuned for more plate/donation opportunities...

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

"mini-me"


There is something about miniatures that inspire awe, interest and curiosity. who doesn't love to see a shrunken version of familiar places, people and objects. I am fortunate to have a really talented person helping me out in the studio who happens to be a gifted artist himself. His specialty and obsession is making miniature versions of streetscapes, buildings and iconic or emblematic scenes that instantly evoke a sense of place. I thought it would be fun to commission him to do a version of my chicken coop studio. I had no idea what he would come back with and was stunned and overjoyed at the result. It truly is a "mini-me" of my beloved workspace..clay dust, objects, chaos and all.. I want to share some images of his creation along side of images of the real thing- every detail! the magazines, bags of clay, the ceramic tiled floor! he made each thing completely from scratch and scrounged materials..just brilliant!














If anyone is interested  in a commissioned pieces from Malcolm Kenter - get in touch with him here: mkminiatures@gmail.com



I will be bringing this to @NYNOW where I will be exhibiting in handmade/designer maker in august: booth 9416

Thursday, January 22, 2015

the plate as talisman..


I was thrilled to be featured in the My Space column in the Dec/Jan 2015 issue of House Beautiful. Not only do I still love and appreciate printed magazines and cherish the ability to tear out images, it is also a lovely way to connect with the public and I love letting people into my world here a little bit.
Often times the things we purchase and collect are made by people we never see or get to know in any way. The days of walking into the village and interacting with the crafts people making your utilitarian and decorative items has withered, though there is a resurgence of small shops showcasing local work--I like visiting those places when I travel and surely appreciate learning about what is being crafted where I am.
As a maker/crafter myself, I enjoy being represented not only here in San Francisco, but all over the country in small shops and larger ones where people can interact with the tableware.
It is also why I love to make the work I do for places like the DeYoung Museum here in San Francisco and Silver Oak Vineyards up in Napa-- the feedback I get from those places is how people come in and collect pieces as a way of reminding them of their time and experiences there. I can totally relate as I do the same thing when I travel- it can be a local artist's work or an interestingly shaped twig or stone that I will cherish as a memento.

some of my collections at home..





Working mostly solo here at the studio I don't often get to see firsthand people interacting with my work so am always grateful when folks reach out and tell me about it. Recently I have had some particularly touching experiences with users of my work. One is from the most lovely family who recently suffered a tremendous loss. They were housebound for a long time caring for an ill child who finally succumbed to his illness this year. She had ordered plates during this time of convalescence as a way of cheering up the house a bit and enhancing meal time. The imagery of the plates and the meaning they had for her was "healing" she told me and truly lifted their spirits. While we often think of 'things' as materialistic or not necessary, we forget that objects can act as talismans and vessels of spirit and an outlet for emotions. Religious art has played that role forever as well as folk art's place in many cultures. It can be rustic, it can be crude- but if it conveys something to your soul and helps, that is what's important. So hearing about the healing properties of the plates was special to me indeed.
People will often pick up a plate, examine the images and tell me what it is, what they see and perhaps what it means to them personally.  That is always fascinating to me as two people will look at the same plate and see completely different things and take away, something totally separate and unique.
In addition, having worked with some restaurants to make their plates has elevated this process to a level of true integration of experiential opportunities. The other contacts I have been having lately are from several folks who used to frequent Station 1 restaurant in Woodside, where I made all of the tableware. It was such a special place that Zu and Kristi put together and it was a sad day when they had to close due to lease issues. A lot of people celebrated important occasions there and have contacted me to commission a set of plates to remind them of their time spent there..and eating on the tableware was a big part of it. One particular comment I loved was from a young woman who loved bringing out of town visitors there and spoke of how excited they were to "see which of the pieces we'd been 'dealt' with our meal"-- I love that.. She is getting married and is interested in having this experience to offer in her own home.
It is with great joy that I get to do what I do. I am very fortunate to satisfy my own creative urges while feeding someone else's. This is a new year now full of opportunity to create more, observe more and record what I see in clay. It heals me and I like that it does so for others as well.



Friday, January 16, 2015

belated..happy new year.




wow. I realized that it has been a long time since I posted here on the blog. Certainly a by-product of being busy and also the natural gravitation towards other forms of communication on social media that are so efficient, like Instagram. Instagram is just fun and so manageable and I love scrolling through and seeing the images people post. It's such a lovely way to take a small break in the day and enter into someone else's mind, work, world and I have to admit, I have been favoring that quickness.
That said, I still also enjoy reading people's blogs and getting a bit more in depth idea of what they are up to.
2014 was a busy year and I was happy to delve deeper into my work and continue being inspired by so many things that influenced my designs.
Here are some of the new things that emerged:

madras-having fun with textures and patterns based on classic textiles and mixing these with other pieces










chinoiserie in other color ways- playing around with new combinations that presents the chinoiserie in surprising ways-look out for more this year






all black all white for more subtle interpretation of imbedded objects-





This year will hopefully bring a thorough clean out of the studio-more work in raku, an installation project and some good travel plans on the horizon-always key for new inspiration and continued exploration into telling stories on clay..

and of course beach time with porter watching birds congregate and collecting detritus, hanging with kiki and looking out for hawks and the parrots swooping into the backyard..










happiest of new years.. and if you too are an instagram fan- you can keep regular tabs on my work  @lisaneimethceramics and also on Facebook..

Sunday, August 31, 2014

august and everything else..


wow. august 31st. it has been a busy summer. kids moving in and out of their own life experiences that will carry over into their older selves as sweet important memories.
me, continuing to bond with my dog and getting some sweet time myself to be in some of my favorite places.




and putting energy into my work with some interesting photo shoots- some just for me, some for publication in magazines and newspapers.

San Francisco Chronicle 8.31.14

San Francisco Chronicle 8.31.14


but having fun exploring contexts and textures and color, putting unexpected concepts together and fantasizing about spending more time in new mexico and creating the summer studio there (maybe maybe next year???)

ocean beach fantasy come true thanks to joseph smooke

the deck is the first step towards the studio on the land

some collected treasures from abiquiu, new mexico
and back to new york city to do the big trade show at NYNOW..new booth, salvaged table..color of fog




much to get done now..new shops, more for old shops, fun projects for individuals wanting a highly personal set of still life plates for homes to inspire..
I don't get to post here as often as I would like..so in the meantime follow me on instagram @lisaneimethceramics for regular snippets and images and as always, get in touch if you want to come by the studio here in San francisco.
more soon..or as SF Giants broadcaster Mike Krukow likes to say.."in a bit!"