Lisa Naples | Sculpture and Pottery | Episode 6

Lisa Naples

Lisa Naples makes pottery and narrative figures from her barn/studio in Doylestown, PA. She received her MFA from The Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in 1988. In 2012 she was awarded the Jane and Leonard Korman Prize for Excellence in Contemporary Clay at the 36th Annual Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show. In 2010 she was awarded the prestigious “Best of Philly” award in the category of “Gallery Artist”. Also in 2010 her work was featured in the publication “Masters Earthenware: Major Works from Leading Artists” which is a survey of 37 ceramic artists from North America and Europe.

Select exhibitions: James A. Michener Art Museum, Smithsonian and Phila. Museum of Art Craft Shows. She has lectured and given workshops around the country and in Australia.

In 2005 she was awarded an NCECA (Nat’l Council for the Education of Ceramic Artists) residency at The Australian National University in Canberra, Australia which fundamentally changed her studio life.

Lisa Naples Bicycle CupsWhat do you do to keep yourself inspired?

Most of the months of the  year it is not an issue. Work informs work. So one thing leads to another. Recently I was not motivated so I picked up a commercial vase and brought it into the studio and used it as a starting point. All you need is a starting point. If I get stuck, it is good to just get in the studio and start anything. I might go to a museum and see something that knocks me out. I then get an image of that and put it in the studio.

Lisa Naples Rabbit Tea Pot

What is your go-to tool that you have to have?

The Dolan 220 C! I love that knife.  The handle fits well in my hand and the blade is thin. The Michael Sherrill ribs and my french rolling pins.

Lisa Naples Immortal HareWhat advice would you give to a young potter?

If I could speak to myself as a young potter I can relate to that image. I can see myself working in the basement of my parents home instead of being at the beach. I’d say keep that up. Keep working!

When someone says that they want to be a potter, and something else, then I tell them if they are interested in doing something else, then do that something else. Unless you are bitten by clay, then they will have a hard time doing it. But if they have been bitten then beg, borrow and steal to make it happen.

What book would you recommend?

Book Cover

A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park

Lisa Naples Book

Finding One’s Way with Clay by Paul Berensohn

Contact Information




Posted in Show Notes and tagged .
  • Maybe the best one yet. It’s so nice to hear Lisa talk about her work! I especially like her advice to a young potter! SO true. It takes a little bit of obsession to make anything good. Dive in!

    • Paul Blais

      Michael, you are such an encourager. Thank you. You are right about Lisa’s advice.

  • I agree with Michael. This was a great episode! (what’s with the random bass-guitar-string-pluck sounds? lol) Lisa’s story and advice is valuable and I will try to keep it mind when/if I pursue a full-time career in pottery/ceramics. Keep up the great work, Paul!

    • Paul Blais

      Arnold. Thanks for stopping by Lisa’s show notes page. The bass guitar is my transitional sound between “chapters” in the episode. Yes, Lisa’s story is really valuable. She is a powerhouse of wisdom.

      • I recently had the pleasure of seeing Lisa demo at a Potters Council workshop here in Southern California! In addition to her skills with clay, she is such a great inspiration. Thank you for taking the time to chat, Lisa!

  • So glad you enjoyed it Arnold and Michael. I’ve heard from many people
    through email as a result of the podcast and it reminds me what a
    powerful medium it is. I know I enjoy playing them while I work. Thanks
    Paul for putting it out there.

  • Currently listening from the origin, just found your podcast and am enjoying listening to it while I work in the studio. I am very much an infant in the ceramic world, embarking on my 3rd year in clay. Really loving it! Keep up the great work! Lisa – thank you for your insights and your contributions to the ceramic community!

    • Paul Blais

      Shawna, I am so stoked that you found The Potters Cast! I am even happier that you are finding it to be helpful and inspirational. Keep your hands dirty and thank you for inviting me into your studio.

  • Hey Shawna,
    “Infancy” is the BEST. The trick for me, I notice is finding how to keep that wide open mind as I progress. It’s a daily practice. Thanks for writing in!

  • Great interview, Lisa!!!!! So honest and real. I remember watcHing a Ken Ferguson film once and he said all he wanted to do was make pots! I had felt so guilty up until that point, but you really do have to be obsessed!!!
    Thanks for sharing!
    Much love your way