Today we’d like to introduce you to Lori Dresner.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Lori. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I have been making art since I was a child and discovered clay at age nine. Love at first sight – or in this case, touch.
When I applied to college, although I got into several Ivy League schools, but when the acceptance from Rhode Island School of Design came, I knew that was my calling.
My senior year at RISD, I discovered Video and made the strange transition to Video Art. I received my Masters in Video Art at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1979. Although I missed the palpability of clay, I found that I could make a much better living with video than with clay.
I began my professional life as a videotape editor and worked my way up to TV and print producer, moving to Paris in 1987 and living there for 20 plus years. I traveled extensively for work and my chief creative outlet at the time was putting together the production team. Every time we finished a commercial, I was satiated but stressed. All the while, I missed the tactile quality of physically making something,
When I returned to the states, I moved to Colorado and took summer ceramics workshops at Anderson Ranch where I fell in love with clay all over again. I was in nature, I was physically active, I was more relaxed, and my creative juices started flowing.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
When I was in Art school, my professors were very strict about the process. It seemed like the professors were harder on women – it was the early 80’s. I wanted to make meaningful art with clay but the teachers told me I had to learn the basics of pottery making before I could do anything “lofty.”
That may be why I was so attracted to the video department. I could use moving images to talk about time and life and death.
Then, there was my career, still not easy in the TV world for a woman in the 80s.
Back in the states in 2008, I found it hard to loosen up. I harkened back to all of the “rules and regulations” related to creativity that I was taught in art school. It was stifling. But making objects in clay was also a release.
Five years ago, I managed to break both hands at the same time in a freak skiing accident, so that set me back.
Now, I have difficulties with my coordination and my fingers don’t always do what I tell them to do. But I persevered.
And finally, and especially because of this injury, I found permission to throw away those rules and be free. And I started to draw.
My ceramics evolved to what it is today.
I think that if you have creativity inside of your heart and soul, you will find a way.
Please tell us more about what you do, what you are currently focused on and most proud of.
“The mind is like a parachute. It doesn’t work if it isn’t open.” — Frank Zappa
That quote describes my thoughts today as I make art. My hand-built work revolves around imaginary characters interacting in illusory surroundings.
Since throwing has become a challenge for me with my limited hand strength, I construct asymmetrical vessels, using porcelain or white stoneware, that serves as a blank canvas. I also make mugs and cups because I still love to throw.
I derive my characters – or creatures as I like to call them – from everyday moments, photos I take of pets, animals, children, and anything else I find amusing and interesting. I create line drawings of characters from my photos and then transfer them onto a vessel’s surface. From there, the magic begins.
The creatures “talk” to me and start to interact with each other in my mind and little by little, they interact with the form and a background materializes. Using a mishima technique and underglaze, the pictures on my pots come to life.
I think of my ceramics as a balance between fiction and life. My images tend to be lighthearted, and the process of creating serves as a release of worry and tension I see in today’s troubled and uncertain world.
Most importantly, when someone drinks from a cup I made or places a vessel in their home – if it brings a smile to their face, I feel that I have accomplished my mission.
We’re interested to hear your thoughts on female leadership – in particular, what do you feel are the biggest barriers or obstacles?
As an artist, I don’t believe that today there are barriers as a woman.
The barriers are the artwork itself, what’s popular, what’s not. What’s considered art, what’s not.
Historically ceramics has always been considered craft, not art. Ceramic artists traditionally showed in ceramic galleries or sold pottery in stores that specialize in hand made crafts but recently, major art galleries are embracing clay as art. Ceramic artists are stretching the limits of what one can do with clay. It’s wonderful to see.
- Address: Lori Dresner
910 Santa Fe Dr. Unit 201
Denver, Co 80204
- Website: www.ldceramix.com
- Phone: 248-798-9908
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: ld.ceramix
- Facebook: loridresner
my portrait was taken by Karen McShea, Both fishing and outdoor drawing scenes taken by my husband, Pete Wycoff, Art images taken by me