The Arts Business Institute interviewed Australian ceramic artist Lesley Roos-Gray about her amazing collection of work. She presents her portfolio and talks about inspiration.
ABI: Tell us about the complete dinnerware sets that you create by hand.
LR: I have been sculpting in clay for many years, from human heads to flowers used as items of jewelry. My natural leaning is to make items of beauty that can be used rather than just looked at.
I saw some stunning work by South African sculptors which enthused me to start sculpting dinnerware, the main sculpted feature being the serving bowls and then matching the plates to their design. I knew that they being involved and time consuming to make would make my market small, but wanted to produce that beauty anyway. I am currently working on a design for a wedding gift based on the Frangipani flower.
I consult with the person to find something that they love. The Rose bowl was done for a client in England who sent me a photograph of the Rose she loves, and built the design around it. Color wishes are also very important for one wants the dinnerware to look ‘right’ in their home.
Because the market is small for very involved work, I have started designing more simply and will shortly be adding that to my shop.
ABI: What are some of the more complex pieces you’ve made?
LR: The Clown Fish dinnerware set is quite involved to make because all the fish were sculpted separately and added to the body of the piece… the timing with respect to moisture content in the clay always has to be watched and the painting was quite time consuming too.
Each piece was fired a minimum of four times because of the 12kt gold used. I had previously made and sold a number of Funeral Urns and the lid of the January urn with Lily of the Valley flowers was complex.
ABI: How do you make most of your sales, and how would you describe your customers?
LR: I decided that in this modern world and also because I live in Australia currently, I needed to look for clients globally. I have a shop on Etsy and Houzz and am a member of a an Artists Directory in England. I sought advertising space in the Connoisseur Magazine but was fortunate enough to have the publisher feature my work in their ‘Luxury’ design page.
The British ‘Aesthetica ‘ Magazine has also given me space as an artist. It is early days for me yet as I only started making the dinnerware at the beginning of 2014.