Lisa Liebermann

Lives & works in Johannesburg, South Africa

I live and work in Johannesburg, South Africa. As the youngest daughter of Sammy and Mary Liebermann, I have been playing with clay for as long as I can remember. Being something of a nomad has meant that I have worked in many different Potteries, playing different roles in the Pottery business. Mostly I have worked as a decorator, when I grew up it was somehow default that men were throwers and women were decorators. I find throwing very therapeutic and can’t go for too long without throwing something on the wheel.  But it’s not a main focus for me. Making tiles has become a passion. This year (2019) I made the tiles for “The whippet”, a trendy coffee shop in Melville. Working with someone to turn their dream into a reality is boundlessly satisfying. 

My ceramic journey has taken me from Johannesburg to Cape-Town, where I branched away from Liebermann Pottery for the first time, trying new techniques and going to workshops. When my children were growing up we ran Olisa Pottery in Plettenberg Bay. It was there that I gained the majority of my experience. We did too many things ; Raku, decorated tableware, painted tiles, light fittings, basins, totem poles…but slowly I found my own voice. Joining up with other local potters was a bonus and my work has been bought by local and international collectors and exhibited around the country.  I have shared a studio with Janet Holding at the “Old Nick”, Brenda Ellish in Kransbos and worked in a Country Pottery outside Pretoria. At various times I have been employed by Liebermann Pottery.

One line which was started later but has carried on for longer has been my Porcelain Pendants. I have travelled around with a small test kiln that belonged to my Aunt Polly who used to make Pottery beads in the sixties and seventies. A small bag of clay can accompany one anywhere and I became accustomed to working on my lap. My tiny kiln was under a table and I would joke that I had gone from the biggest Pottery in South Africa, my parents one, to this, the smallest, under the table. It’s not under the table anymore, Pure Porcelain Pendants are growing and sowing themselves all over.

When I first came back to Jhb I taught Pottery for a few years. The shift to solitary work has afforded me the time to develop moulds and glazes and tweak my studio into a smooth flowing production. The flow and rhythm of pottery making is essential to me. Pottery making provides a wonderful metaphor for life’s journey.  



Potter of the month: Lisa Liebermann

Regarding the theme of the exhibition, FATE & FREE WILL, Lisa Lieberman states:  “Pottery making is an ideal example of how these two concepts interplay:  there is the intention of the potter (the artist’s will) working with whatever possibilities and limitations present.  Fate can be defined as the development of events outside of a person’s control.”  
“We all have certain things that control us, like puppets, and certain things that we control, like puppeteers.  Like Geppetto, the things we conceive and control eventually turn into real things with choices of their own.  The idea of the puppet and the puppeteer can also be linked to cause and effect; the strings we pull cause the puppet to move”.
“However, in the end it is nature that controls mankind.  The intrinsic nature – of all things should be sought out in life and some attempt made to work with these forces, not to merely dominate them.  A successful potter does this and in some sense we are all potters and pots made by the great Creator.”

Source of article.

Restaurant Mosaic Article

Lisa Liebermann, third generation ceramic artist, originally from the Liebermann Pottery in Johannesburg, established in 1952 and following the Bernard Leach Shoji Hamada tradition with an extensive range of traditional handmade cottage table and dinnerware as well as ceramic picture tiles. Lisa now resides in Wittedrift and works from her studio, the Funky Furnace at Old Nick´s Place, on the Garden Route. Commissioned by Chantel to manufacture a limited range of rectangular plates reminiscent of ancient Japanese Zen pebble gardens, these plates were manufactured to Chantel’s specifications with her Winter 2011 Gourmet Menu in mind.

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