Skip to main content

Visit to an Artist's Studio: Trevor Lillistone


I visited ceramic artist Trevor Lillistone's studio in Bath Spa, UK, last November. It's in a building made from the butter-coloured stone that you see all over this beautiful city, and you get to Trevor's studio by crossing cobbled courtyards and winding along corridors past other artists' studios.

He's been making ceramics for about twenty years, and only devoted himself to it full time relatively recently. He makes tableware and decorative ware in fired stoneware, with glazes that are classically smooth or deliciously improvised. They are all lovely to look at, but the ones I respond to most are the anagma ware pieces, which have that crackle-glaze texture in colours such as orange and blue.



During our visit, he talked about the people who had influenced him, like Lucy Rie, and the length of time it takes to get things right, and how he now holds classes in his studio.


I took a five week class in hand building with stoneware about four years ago, from which I learned two things: working with clay is difficult to master, but could get addictive very quickly; and ceramic artists have the great satisfaction of making something real and tangible. I'm sure an artist like Trevor Lillistone has his bad moments and his frustrations, but looking around his studio, they seemed like they might be few and far between.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Brancusi in Plastic

Artist Mary Ellen Croteau is showing these columns made from recycled plastic cartons and lids in the window of the Columbia College bookstore on Michigan Avenue. They are a playful homage to Brancusi's "Endless Columns", with a serious environmental message for our times:

Mary Ellen also runs a wonderful experimental art gallery in a window space in west Chicago, called Art on Armitage. I will be exhibiting a mixed media piece there during August 2012.

How to etch a linoleum block

Linoleum as a material for printmaking has been used for nearly a hundred years now. Normally, you cut an image out using special gouges similar to woodcut tools, cutting away the lino around the image you want to print. This is called relief printmaking, because if you look at the block from the side, the material that remains stands up in relief from the backing material. You then roll ink with a brayer over the surface of the block, place paper over it, and either print by hand or run it through a press. You can do complex things this way (for example, reduction linocuts), but the beauty of the process is that it is quick, simple, and direct.


A few years ago, I saw some prints that were classified as coming from etched linoleum blocks, and I loved the textures I saw in them. In the last few months, I've been trying to use this technique in my own studio, learning about it as one does these days from websites and YouTube videos. I've also had email exchanges with several pr…

Artist-Writer-Artist: Gerard Woodward

I am extremely pleased that poet and author Gerard Woodward agreed to be interviewed for this series. Gerard and my wife, Patty, were colleagues for a short while at the end of 2008, when Patty taught for one semester at Bath Spa University, where Gerard is a faculty member in the Creative Writing program. Gerard spent the spring semester of 2011 in Chicago on a reciprocal visit. Gerard has published poetry, short-stories, and novels. "Householder", his 1991 collection of poetry, won the Somerset Maugham Award in the UK, and his novel "I'll Go to bed at Noon" was shortlisted for the Booker Prize for Fiction. Of his most recent novel, "Nourishment", The Daily Telegraph reviewer wrote: "It is a novel to be savoured, and Woodward is a novelist to be treasured." It turns out that in addition to his success as a writer, Gerard started his adult life in art college, and still draws and paints when he can. So here, from a writer's point of view…