Leah Kaplan

Ceramics by Leah Kaplan

How did you get into ceramic making?

"I enrolled in my first ceramics class at age 22. I loved everything about it -- working with my hands, the feel of the clay, the endless possibilities. It felt fun and freeing and totally different from other mediums in which I had dabbled. But I am a late bloomer. It took me another 30 years before I set up my own studio. In the intervening years, I had some great job opportunities that were too good to pass up. I had three kids. When I turned 50, I decided it was time to put my passion front and center. I am so glad and grateful that I was able to take the leap."

What inspires you for creating patterns in your work?

"I am constantly experimenting with different tools and techniques. Many of my favorite hand-building methods were discovered through happy accidents. Often I have a specific idea in my head, but on the path to realizing it, I stumble upon something far more interesting. I also reference and find inspiration in other mediums, especially basketry and textiles. I enjoy playing with materiality. In the end, my creative process combines intent, intuition and serendipity. I think it helps to be curious and open —- with no expectations."

If you do how do you find inspiration from your environment when being creative?

"I am a huge walker, covering as much as 60 miles in a week, most of it spent cross-crossing Philadelphia between my home and my studio. Walking helps me problem-solve, as well as get ideas flowing. Creativity and movement are inextricably linked for me.

I also have a voracious appetite for visual material. On my walks, I often stop to take photographs. While the subject matter is wildly eclectic — from gravestones to mushroom gills — I am drawn to the same themes, such as texture, lines and layers. Some of this inspirational fodder finds its way into my work. I think this exercise in paying attention also puts me in the right mindset for creating when I get to my studio."

What makes a great craftsman?

"I think great craftsmen have mastery over their material. They have an almost intuitive sense of what it can do, borne from intense practice and trial and error. I think great craftsman who are also great artists take it a step further. They use their understanding of materiality to break rules and push boundaries, creating unexpected outcomes. "

No items found.
Ceramics by Leah Kaplan
No items found.