Clovelly ceramicist, Leora Lewis, whose charming works are currently on exhibition at Kalk Bay Modern is a too modest a person to pin down for an interview, but I have managed to gather the following about her!
This also means that the interesting bits I would have elicited from her I have not been able to but I hope that the photos will give you the impression of Leora the Person as well as Leora the Artist.
In 1976 Leora received a Diploma in Etching and Photography from Michaelis School of Fine Art at UCT. Here she experimented with various material processing techniques such as resin and metal as well as etching and photography.
In 1983 she graduated with a first class BA Honours, majoring in Ceramics, from the central School of Art and Design in London.
From 1985 to 1987 Leora taught Ceramics in Stepney, London and in 1987/88 she taught art at the Zonnebloem Art Centre in Cape Town. In 1991 she held a post teaching Industrial Ceramic Design at the Cape Technicon. She also held evening classes for the general public.
In 1988 she spent time at Platfontein in the Northern Cape establishing a Pottery for a San community, a project she tackled with great passion and enthusiasm. Products from this group received a Style Magazine Award.” I feel that the San are the supreme masters of symbolic design, succinctly simple and powerful.”
1989 The Corobrick Regional Award in Cape Town
1990 The Maarten Zaalberg Award for Industrial Ceramics in Cape Town.
1984 a solo exhibition of ceramics at the Mandel Gallery in Ilford, London.
1997 exhibition at the Lutge Gallery in Cape Town.
2007 exhibition at the Kalk Bay Modern
In 2008 Leora was one of five Cape Town designers who exhibited under the Italian Misael label during the Milan Furniture Fair.
Misael’s new project was “orientated towards design from the edges of the globalised market. … (and is) about limited edition products that embody their creator’s passion for freshness, originality, handicraft and technology.” One of Leora’s contributions was of feet stepping out of a bowl of water.
2009 exhibition at the Design Indaba, Cape Town.
2010 1st Category Error exhibition in Johannesburg: ‘The Ties that Bind 1’
Info from the catalogue of Category Error: “Leora Lewis has worked with the plasticity of clay, making objects that are intrinsically unsuitable to the medium such as a table, a writing case, a concertina file.” She says: “Through tensions during the forming, drying and firing stages, the ceramic work retains a memory of the process it has been subjected to, making each piece unique and allowing meditative reflection on qualities of aliveness and the nature of control.”
Dec 2010 Category Error 2 at AVA in Cape Town
“The theme for the group exhibition was ‘The ties that bind 2’. We called ourselves Category Error because we were a group of women who came from many different creative disciplines. For the second exhibition the group continued to explore thethemes we approached in the first exhibition in Johannesburg. Articles that evoke memories are tied directly to a past ancestory of sayings and preferences and modes that indelibly monitor and insinuate themselves into our own responses. Each artist approached this theme through their own medium and experience.
I tried to capture crumbling impressions, pinning down images like specimens about to vaporise or become defunct, especially under scrutiny.”
Leora’s latest works for the exhibition at Kalk Bay Modern – a sequence of unglazed ceramic animal heads – were inspired by a “marvellous trip to Turkey and a visit to the archeological museum near the Topkapi Palace. The head of a small horeslike creature, probably, made of stone, inspired me to make a series of animal heads: an okapi, a Mongolian pony, a horse, sheep , bookie and goat heads. Calling them ‘Pillow Heads’ clay was draped over a cusion, scrnched newspaper and string to form them.They are hollow to give them space to communicate with the past, the future and hopefully everything inbetween.”
” When working with ceramics there are rare but wonderful moments when a potter takes a piece of work out of the kiln and somehow the right combination of earth, air, water and fire rewards the potter with a miracle more precious than gold, ”
The exhibition at Kalk Bay Modern runs until the 4 October. http://scenicsouth.co.za//event/kalk-bay-modern-exhibition-sculpture-ceramics-4-sept-4-oct-2013/
Viv von der Heyden