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Professional potter to share her unique process in workshop and lecture Feb. 26-28 at Iowa State

February 18, 2015

Artist Lisa Orr
Butter dish by Lisa Orr
Mug by Lisa Orr
Plate by Lisa Orr


AMES, Iowa — Studio potter Lisa Orr will offer a ceramics workshop Feb. 26-28 and share the evolution of her studio work in a lecture Feb. 26 at Iowa State University.

The "Fluid Form" workshop will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, Feb. 26-28, in the ceramics studio, room 038 College of Design. Orr—the owner of Lisa Orr Pottery in Austin, Texas—will demonstrate her unique production process, and those with prior ceramics experience may participate in hands-on activities. Others without such experience are welcome to observe and ask questions.

Orr will discuss the business of being a self-supporting artist and the evolution of her studio work in "A Working Artist's Life" at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 26, in Kocimski Auditorium, room 101 Design. Both the workshop and presentation are free and open to the public.

Orr creates handmade, functional, low-fire pottery for use in daily life. Though her "artworks for the table" often reference traditional porcelain or restaurant whitewares, her forms are fluid and often gently asymmetrical, with the playful, colorful qualities of Mexican earthenware.

She invented her own production process after studying clay mold fragments in antiquated factories and museums. After forming pieces in molds, on the wheel or both, she finishes with stamps, slips, sprigs and multihued glazes. Sturdily crafted while displaying fluidity, Orr’s work "plays both ends of the spectrum, from the dynamic and substantive to the detailed and dreamy," she says, and "is best presented with a freshly prepared meal."

Orr has been a professional potter and student of ceramics for 30 years. After earning a bachelor of fine arts in 1983 at the University of Texas at Austin, she received on-the-job training from several local potters and spent many years developing and selling her work in regional shows. She completed her master of fine arts at the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University in 1992 and studied on a Fulbright Scholarship to Bulgaria from 1992 to 1994. She received a National Endowment for the Arts Mid-America Arts Alliance Fellowship in 1995.

Orr's work is in numerous public and private collections, including the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, and the permanent collection of the World Ceramic Exposition Foundation of Korea. She teaches, lectures and exhibits nationally and internationally. She is a founder of the Art of the Pot Austin Studio Tour, which brings North America’s most cutting-edge ceramicists and their work to central Texas annually on Mother's Day weekend. An active member of the Austin arts community, Orr co-directed several large-scale community mosaic public art projects and has co-produced several educational videos.

Orr's visit is co-sponsored by CODAC (College of Design Art Club), College of Design Lectures and Exhibitions Committee and ISU Committee on Lectures (funded by the Government of the Student Body).

Heather Whittlesey, CODAC, (515) 509-0273,
Ingrid Lilligren, Art and Visual Culture, (515) 294-8881,
Heather Sauer, Design Communications, (515) 294-9289,