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  on very special pieces in my Metallic Collection. Each piece is an original design, wheelthrown, and handcarved--one of a kind.

Artist Statement

I learned the basics of wheel thrown pottery in an elective course 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? Fast forward 26 years, and I found myself in a time of profound life change that propelled me towards my new career as as full-time artist, and it all started with a simple bone.

I was walking through the woods with my 8 year old son when we happened upon the skeleton of a fawn, long dead, its bones loosely strewn among the crumbled leaves, picked clean by insects and bleached nearly white by the sun.  "Mom, can we put it back together in the garage? PLEASE????", he pleaded. We set home, our pockets filled with treasures. Sammy carefully laid out the bones, pieced together the skeleton on the garage floor, then, fully satisfied with his efforts, dumped it all in a box.  The next morning, I found myself thinking about the tiny deer femur. I retrieved it from the garage and turned around in my hands, studying its lines and folds, appreciating its remarkable strength despite its diminutive size.  I don’t know why, but I had an intense desire to carve it.  I hadn’t carved anything in my life, but I saw something in that bone that I wanted to bring to life.  

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. 

During the next three months, a friend gave me a massive kick wheel, another friend gifted me with an electric wheel, and I salvaged two broken kilns from an art school that could be rebuilt into a Frankenstein kiln. And just like that, I had everything I needed to try my hand at pottery again.

Taking an unformed hunk of clay and forming it into a vessel is a magical experience. 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. This time around, I was ready to broaden my surface decorating skills.  I began experimenting by painting designs on greenware then carving through the colored underglaze to reveal the light clay body beneath (scraffito technique) and discovered that painting and carving clay is my true passion! The next year I discovered metallic glazes, which kicked off 7 years of intense testing to get them to perform just right (I do still let my inner perfectionist out on rare occasions). And now, a decade later, I've created 16 distinct collections of art--each one a physical expression of some personal interest or new technique that fully captivated me.

I am often asked why I make so many different styles of work instead of focusing on just one ‘look’. The answer is simple: it makes me happy to learn new techniques, practice, and then build a collection of work that tells a story.  Making the same thing every day dulls my spirit, whereas combining techniques and styles, playing with textures and shapes, pouring my soul into experimental pieces...that is creative joy! I love painting birds and botanicals for their endless variety and color. Carving leather hard porcelain is my all-time favorite pottery experience. Creating wild and wonderful mixed media pieces from bone, horn, antlers, feathers, stone, and my own clay creations connects me to nature in the purest possible way.  As long as I can explore the world around me and pay attention to the feelings within me, my work will continue to change, improve, and evolve. I wouldn't have it any other way.

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 grand adventure with all of you.

Photo by Marc Goldberg Photography

Beautiful.  Functional.  Unique.

The Roycroft Metallic Collection on display in my dining room in between shows. If you come to my open studio, this is just a taste of what you'll see.

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

LGG Creative Art ~ Pottery and Bone Carving