Lara Zilibowitz | Episode 241
Lara Zilibowitz is a yoga teacher and ceramicist living in Sydney, Australia with a longstanding passion for creative expression through the body. She always been fascinated by the Hindu and Buddhist symbolism of the ‘mandala’, a representation of the microcosm and the macrocosm of the universe. All her ceramic pieces are thrown on the wheel, painted with underglaze and carved into using sgraffito method. The process of carving each mandala is spontaneous, she sits in front of the clay canvas with no plan, giving her hand free reign. Lara approaches working with the clay as a meditation practice.
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What do you do to keep yourself energized and inspired?
To keep myself energized and inspired I practice yoga. I practice yoga and I make sure I carve out time in my day to practice what I preach. As a yoga teacher it’s funny, that is not a practice, in fact it can be extremely draining . I have actually felt over the last few months I was feeling really burnt out again, taking on many projects and really wonderful opportunities, running retreats as well and few things but I really felt exhausted. Exhausted in even making these pots which I adore. So in the last few weeks I made a commitment to myself stop, pause in the day and rest. It is simple and it is difficult and profound to just stop and lie in the sun or go for a swim or to read. And definitely making pottery. Oh my gosh, it is so grounding for me to schedule time in my week to do that.
Which potters do you identify most with?
I don’t know a lot of actual big names. Where I get inspiration from is really old, ethnic art. A lot of African art. Papua New Guinea art, my parents spent a lot of time in both places. My mum has an amazing collection of artifacts and books on African art or indigenous art in general and Australian art as well. And so I just generally flip through images for inspiration.
How has your work with the food industry influenced your work today?
From a media kind of thing it has been really good because it was training online. I was an online editor so really knowing how to connect with your audience, knowing how to write, I love writing. So having my own website and blog post and things,I really enjoy that process. From the food side of things, all that tactility of working with my hands and cooking and preparing food, my favorite thing is the play with clay and really use my hands. For me food is the same approach, you have to work with the food, look at it, you smell it, every vegetable is different.I love working with food and I think that comes from that same place.
What types of things hamper your creativity?
That urge to push myself. I am pretty motivated, I didn’t think I was but recently I realize I think I am. But I can be too driven and it can become a little bit manic. And when I’m in that state it is actually very counterproductive and not actually creative. I am driving myself to be more creative or to get more things into the day and to do things but it actually completely hampers that creative freedom. So I am trying to get myself out of that zone by making more time in the day for rest. It is actually when I am more creative when I have more space.
What place do you feel the artist has in the world today?
Gosh, such an important role. I think it has a way more important role than people even recognize. I am reading at the moment Liz Gilbert’s book Big Magic and it’s all about creativity and the role of the artist. Everyone has this potential to be creative whether it’s writing, music, food, whatever it is and I think it’s coming back but I think art for art’s sake, just beauty for the sake of being beautiful is to make us feel alive.
If you could keep only two of your clay tools which would you keep?
I was using a bamboo skewer but now I have this dentist pick tool. I can’t do my work without it. So that little carving tool and a paint brush.