Large tumbler hand crafted by potter Lisa Donaldson.
Lisa works from her home studio in Carterton, Wairarapa – one of New Zealand’s stunningly beautiful landscapes.
Her ongoing journey in pottery began in 2010 at Otago Polytechnic School of Art, and continues with Wellington Potters and the encouragement of local master potter Paul Melser.
Lisa creates tableware and sculptural vessels employing slab, slip-casting, and hand-building. Her passion is glazing: chasing both beautiful breaks of overlapping glazes, as well as repeatable ones. She has gone from high-fire to mid-fire glazing, and fire in an electric kiln on white, brown and terracotta clays.
Tableware, particularly coffee cups, are Lisa’s first unified series, working backwards from glazing to form. Outside glazing adds a liveliness to these forms and the inside glazes are practical food-safe ones.
My passion for pottery is influenced by my background in geochemistry. I’m enthralled by the principles of chemistry that explain the geological processes of the earth, and I can now look back on my first job as making one glaze ingredient – titanium dioxide – from another – West Coast ilmenite sands!
I draw inspiration from family holidays spent tramping NZ National Parks, including our local Tararuas. There is a lot of time to think when you are tramping over rocks surrounded by immense mountain ranges and bush. There are no phones and the only clock is track time.
Ideas come from the natural surroundings: from what is right underneath my feet and what can be seen from a distance. Glazing – melting mixes of feldspars, oxides and minerals, from the earth – allows me to place those images onto the surfaces of both domestic and sculptural vessels.
I find joy in solving technical problems and playing with the ideas that come from happy experimentation with clay; pleasure in combining clay scraps with additions of found minerals from the river to create unique and delightful works of art and utility.