LGG Creative Art ~ Pottery and Bone Carving

Photo by Marc Goldberg Photography

Artist Statement

Photo by Marc Goldberg Photography

Photo by Marc Goldberg Photography

My thanks to Andrea Kennedy for producing this wonderful short video of me in the studio.  Night Owl:  A Look Inside the Studio of Leslie Green Guilbault

Roycroft Artisan in Ceramics, 

2017 - 2023

It is a true honor to be among this group of master artisans with values that include:

a) High quality of hand craftsmanship
b) Excellence in design
c) Continuous artistic growth
d) Originality of expression
e) Professional recognition

I incorporate the Roycroft logo along with my initials and the year on very special pieces in my Metallic Collection. Each piece is an original design, wheelthrown, and handcarved--one of a kind.

Beautiful.  Functional.  Unique.

I learned the basics of wheel thrown pottery at the University of Notre Dame in 1988 and fell in love with it immediately, but the perfectionist in me made sure that I agonized about the process.  Is this curve pronounced enough?   Is the glaze color just right?  Why doesn’t MY pot look as good as THAT pot?  Analysis paralysis often struck me before my hands were even dirty.  But after decades of being a slave to perfection, I’ve finally begun to tame that beast, and it all started with a simple bone.

I was walking through the woods with my son one day when we happened upon the skeleton of a fawn, long dead and most likely killed by the coyotes that we often hear howling and yipping in the night.  Its bones were strewn loosely among the crumbled leaves, offering us an interesting diversion from our planned walk.  The bones were picked clean by insects and bleached nearly white by the sun, which made them quite easy to find.  We set home, our pockets filled with treasures, and Sammy carefully recreated the skeleton in the garage then stored the bones in a box.  The next day, I found myself thinking about the tiny femur.  I retrieved it from the box and turned it around in my hands.  I don’t know why, but I had an intense desire to carve it.  I hadn’t carved anything in my life—even clay—but I saw something in that bone that I wanted to bring to life.  And just like that, I was off and running.

Turns out that bone carving is hard work.  It smells horrific and the dust is toxic, which requires one to wear a respirator for hours on end, in addition to hearing and eye protection and vibration reducing gloves for safety.  And it’s lonely.  No one wants to be around me while the bone dust is flying.  Nonetheless, I was won over by the interesting textures I could create and the amazing strength of this substance that is a part of each of us.  Equally appealing was the fact that I couldn’t find examples of sculptural bone art that looked even remotely similar to what I was making.  My inner perfectionist was stymied by the lack of competition, and I enjoyed creating something just for myself.  After completing three carvings, I was hooked on this art form and was excited to transfer this creative freedom to my pottery.

Taking an unformed hunk of clay and forming it into a vessel has always been great fun.  Glazing, to me, is not.  In college, I finished my early pieces in one-tone colors with little to no surface decoration to limit my glazing anxiety.  When I started making pottery again in 2012 after decades of hibernation, I wanted to broaden my glazing skills.  I began experimenting by painting designs on greenware then carving through the colored underglaze to reveal the light clay body beneath (scraffito technique).   It takes a steady hand and a great deal of patience to create my signature lines, and my inner perfectionist is quite happy when I do (I still let her out on occasion).  I am inspired by geometric patterns and symmetrical designs found in Native American, African, and Middle Eastern art as well as the more chaotic and random patterns found in nature.  I enjoy combining motifs from disparate cultures and representing them in new ways as I continue to perfect my skills and find my artistic voice. 

Many sincere thanks to my family, friends, and customers whose purchases and support allow me to keep doing what I love.  I look forward to continuing this adventure in art with  all of you.