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Leslie Ferretti, Accomplished Potter—December 2006

urbanseashell—a collection’s 2nd Q & A

Welcome to the second Q & A on urbanseashell—a collection featuring Leslie Ferretti, an accomplished potter. Leslie lives with her family in Brooklyn, NY and has a studio nearby in Carroll Gardens.

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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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:
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.


events—The Poetry Project, New York, NY

Edward Foster & John HIgh
read from their new books

Wednesday, December 6 at 8pm
followed by a celebration & reception
The Poetry Project
at St. Marks Church
131 E. 10th St. at 2nd Avenue
New York, NY
All events are $8, $7 for students and seniors, $5 for members

Formerly the poetry editor of MultiCultural Review, Edward Foster is the founding editor of Talisman: A Journal of Contemporary Poetry and Poetics, Talisman House, Publishers, and Jensen/Daniels, Publishers. He has been the recipient of numerous grants and awards and is the Director of the Division of Humanities and Social Sciences in the Imperatore School of Sciences and Arts at the Stevens Institute of Technology. He is the author or editor of two dozen books the most recent of which include Answerable to None: Berrigan, Bronk, and the American Real (1999), The Angelus Bell (2001), Mahrem: Things Men Should Do for Men: A Suite for O (2002); Selected Works (in Russian) (2004); and What He Ought to Know: New and Selected Poems (2006).

John High is the author of eight books, including The Desire Notebooks (Village Voice top 25 books of the year) and the forthcoming novel, Talking God’s Radio Show (Spuyten Duyvil). He is the recipient of four Fulbrights, two National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, and writing awards from the Witter Bynner Foundation, Arts International, and the Academy of American Poets, among others. He is on the faculty of the English Department at Long Island University, Brooklyn where he teaches creative writing and literature. High is currently featured on Web Del Sol's site of “Literary Dialogues with Valued Writers and Poets”.