Lisa: Hi Leslie, Welcome to the second Q & A on urbanseashell—a collection.
Leslie: Thank you for having me. It’s always a pleasure.
Lisa: I would like to start off with the basic question about where you studied art?
Leslie: I attended Hunter College where I received my BA in Art and minored in education. Then I received my masters at Pratt Institute majoring in graphics with a minor in painting. I have taken numerous workshops and studied ceramics at several studios with various people and with many acclaimed ceramists like Val Cushing, Cynthia Bringle, Sam Chung, and Leah Leitson.
Lisa: How did you come to find your passion with ceramics?
Leslie: I was fascinated with the effects of glazing when experimenting with oil pourings on two dimensional surfaces and wanted to work in a more permanent and three dimensional medium.
Lisa: How would you describe your work?
Leslie: As a ceramic artist, I specialize in functional, traditional, and altered thrown forms. My shapes are simple and classic and serve as open surfaces for additive sculptural detail; I carve or incise surface texture with detailed rhythmic patterns using slip and glaze painting.
Lisa: What influenced your work?
Leslie: As a child, I was much taken by kaleidoscopes and marveled as the little pieces of glass inside moved seemingly haphazardly into new configurations. The bright colors set against a satiny white background held me captive for hours. Today as a ceramic artist, I may set larger uninterrupted expanses of a white or single pastel color beside highly textured surfaces. I am interested in contrast; Matte, satin, and high gloss glazes play well against one another on a single piece.
Lisa: Can you tell us what your process is like when you approach each new piece?
Leslie: Each piece is one of a kind but related to others by the technique used. For the most part, I work in series rather than duplicating the exact same pattern, design, or shape over and over again. The pieces in a series are simply variations. I work on a process, and then may move on to something entirely different.
Lisa: Do you ever go back to a series you have worked on to further explore the possibilities? Leslie: Often I will return to a series to incorporate ideas from newer pieces. It may be a found texture or a newly discovered glaze combination that I assimilate into an older process.
Lisa: What inspires you?
Leslie: I am inspired by objects found in nature and am intrigued by the underlying symmetry and asymmetry contained in them. I am fascinated by overlapping and layering of natural objects and how focus, light, and shadow can alter the perception and cause different patterns to emerge or recede.
Lisa: What elements do you most like to experiment with and why?
Leslie: I like to juxtapose organic and geometric elements to create a quietly harmonious object, a beautiful form easy to live with and enjoy having in the home. I tease the eye to follow around each piece using repetition and rhythmic patterns, and delight when a deviation or happy accident alters the configuration and adds a spontaneous element.
Lisa: Where in Brooklyn is your studio located and does it come equipped with a kiln?
Leslie: I rent a space at New Clay Studios at 457 DeGraw Street. The studio is well equipped with electric and gas kilns, a chemical room for glazes, a slab roller, a spray booth, and most anything a ceramic artist would need.
Lisa: Do you belong to any professional organizations?
Leslie: Yes. I am a current member of the American Craft Council and Brooklyn Potters. I have also participated in the Gowanus Artists' Studio Tour and the Brooklyn Waterfront Artist Coalition Open Studio Tour for the past 3 years.
Lisa: Your work is being sold in two shows this weekend. Can you give us the details?
Leslie: Absolutely! I will be showing and selling some of my handmade pottery at PS 321 on Dec. 9th from 11-4pm. The school is located on 7th Ave between 1st and 2nd Streets in Park Slope, Brooklyn.
On Sunday Dec. 10th from 1-6pm, I will be hosting my Home Holiday Sale where most of my pottery will be shown. The address is 449 37th Street, located between 4th and 5th Avenues, Sunset Park, Brooklyn. I will be featuring my newest collection of celadon porcelain pieces as well as my traditional earth toned, textured and decorative functional ware.
Lisa: On Leslie’s behalf, I am inviting my viewers to stop by both shows this coming weekend and shop for the holidays or treat yourselves to Leslie’s unique pottery. Leslie can be reached via email: email@example.com.
Leslie: Yes, pottery makes a unique gift as well as a lovely addition to your home. The work is affordably priced and can be used in the microwave or not-preheated oven. The work is dishwasher safe. The glazes used are lead-free.
Lisa: Leslie, thank you so much for joining me for this Q & A session. I know you are very busy and appreciate your time. I look forward to having you back again.
Leslie: Thank you for inviting me and you know I would love to come back and show you and your viewers what I have been working on.
Directions to Leslie Ferretti’s Home Holiday Sale: That address again is 449 37th Street, located between 4th and 5th Avenues. To travel by car, travel along 4th Avenue in Brooklyn to 37th Street and make a left. Travel 3/4 of the way up the block to 449. To travel by subway, take the N, R or D train to Express stop 36th Street. Exit and walk along 4th Avenur for one block. Make a left and walk up the block to 449.