Monday, May 30, 2011

Meet Our Teachers...

Introducing Vera Lightstone

What did you do before you began working with metal clay?
I was in a sculpture show with large ceramic abstractions when the gallery director gave me a tiny piece of what looked like clay and asked me to try it.  “Are you kidding?” said I, “I’m working at six feet!” She insisted, and my life changed.

What other mediums do you work with?
My work had been previously in ceramics, and bronze, with uninspired detours into oil painting and stone carving, but oh!, the transformation from ‘clay’ to precious metals was the ultimate seduction. I was hooked.

How did you come to be a PMC Connection Senior Teacher? What year?

Gathering  A twelve figure sculpture set in a sixteen foot 
water table for reflection.
My research led me to Mary Ann Devos and I flew to Fort Myers for her class. It was 2001. She and Earl and Ken were just starting a teaching group.  I had been teaching pottery and sculpture for years, and as we hit it off immediately, she hired me to be their first teacher in an organization that grew to be what it is now.

What do you think is the most exciting aspect of teaching?
It has never stopped being exciting to get students as hooked as I am.

Do you have a studio in your home? What does it look like?

In 1981 I bought a large loft in Hells Kitchen in Manhattan.  I divided it into a living space and an art studio to die for -- it is large, well equipped and has a great city view.

Do you teach at home or another venue?
Creating in that space also changed my work, as good environment does, and it is in that space I teach my silver workshops and private students in clay sculpture.  I also teach advanced students in clay sculpture at the JCC in Manhattan.

O'Keefe - Silver Clay Pin
Where do you find inspiration?
My inspiration has always been from nature, For example, when I learned to scuba dive, my work was about the beauty of life undersea. My other inspiration comes from drawing from the model.

Tell us about an artistic hero or influence.
An artist I have always admired is Georgia O’Keeffe. Strong, intensely female, erotic, I can’t resist her. For drawing with the syringe, the wire drawings of Alexander Calder make me laugh out loud and wish I were that great.

Thanks Vera. Your work is stunning. This peek into your life and process has been an inspiration. 


Catherine Witherell said...

I always wanted to know more about Vera, thanks. A very interesting view inside.

Alice Walkowski said...

Thanks for the interview. Heard Vera talk at the PMC Conference a few years back and wanted to take a class from her cause she was such a neat lady. Got the chance two summers ago at the Arrowmont Retreat. Glad to know a little more about her.