Tell us a bit about yourself (name, location, affiliations, personal stuff).
Hi, I’m Lisa Stevens. I live in Bristol, SW England with my husband and two and a half year old son.
Before becoming a Mum, I was one of the senior sculptors/model-makers for Aardman Animations, working on feature films, short series and commercials, such as “Wallace and Gromit-Curse of the Wererabbit”, “Chicken Run”, “Creature Comforts USA” and “Angry Kid”. I still work there, when the opportunity arises, most recently making puppets for “Creature Comforts”
I love using so many different materials, both 2D and 3D, so I’ve found it hard to focus on just one. Most of my work, in whatever media, is usually textured and patterned. Joining a ceramics evening class and then buying a kiln have helped me focus on working with clay!
On Etsy I’m a member of the UK Street Team. Everyone supports each other and we promote each other’s work, and we’ve just started fortnightly challenge themes!
What is the first thing you can remember making by hand? How and why did you make it?
I always made things as a child. Both my Mum and Dad were creative in their spare time, and encouraged my sister and me to paint, draw, glue, sculpt, sew, garden…the list goes on. I can remember making papier mache puppets, carving soap and playing with plasticene (actually I have a strong memory from my first year at school, polishing plasticene until it shone…a useful skill for later in life!) I also made dressing up outfits from old net curtains and scraps…something else that has followed me to adulthood!
What inspires you? Where do your ideas come from?
My primary inspiration comes from the clay itself. I love the way it splits and fractures, tool marks have edges, and it takes impressions so readily.
I love the textures and repeat patterns of sea creatures, microbes and pollen grains. I love moss, lichen, and geological erosion.
I love the graphic illustrations of Ernst Haeckel and the ceramic art of Ruth Duckworth.
In my little animal sculptures, I think there is unavoidably a little flavour of Aardman creeping in there!
What are your favorite materials?
Clay and glazes! I love experimenting with glazes, especially stoneware. I’m excited by the unexpected chemistry when mixing oxides, glass and wires with the glaze. I’ve just discovered metallic lustres too… I’m a bit of a magpie for shiny things.
What is your favorite color?
I’m usually drawn to the cooler end of the spectrum. I find metallics, especially copper, hard to resist!
What are your most and least two favorite films?
My favourite film is “The Shawshank Redemption” and I attribute my love of the 1950s to “Back to the Future”
I can’t be bothered to watch anything with “Bond” in the title, and having read the book, (which I know is completely low-brow, but I loved it anyway), I was absolutely disappointed by “The Da Vinci Code”
What are you reading right now?
“Memories of Norton St Philips 1901-1930” by Gwen Harries. Never heard of it? It’s my husband’s Grandmother’s memoirs of growing up in an English village. She was 105 last October…when she was little, aeroplanes hadn’t been invented! Fascinating stuff!
Any tips on selling handmade stuff?
I have only recently started selling my work. I guess it’s taken me a few years to find my style. My advice would be to create something that you enjoy, and truly make it yours. I find it difficult to make something just because I think it will sell, and not because I have a compulsion to make it.
Apart from creating things, what do you do?
Obviously being the Mother of a young boy, I spend a lot of time with him. We have regular trips to the Zoo and City Farm. I feel healthier if I can spend time outside and I love gardening and nature.
And I’m completely obsessed with “Lost”!
How can Etsy be improved? Any feature requests?
It’s coming up to my birthday… I would find some sort of wish list really useful for showing to my friends and family. I have a lot of items on my favourites list for different reasons, but would like to flag a smaller number just to let others know “This is what I really want you to buy me!”