Sunday, September 14, 2008

Peter Lenzo Workshop

Today for the second time in as many months, we were treated to some fine hospitality by Bob Hasselle and company at the Rock Hill Pottery Center. The last time it was for the Peter Rose workshop, this time for Peter Lenzo's.

I already mentioned in a previous post that I am fascinated by Peter Lenzo's face jugs and now I am equally impressed with the man who makes them. The life and spirit that he imparts in the pieces is amazing. He starts off with a simple thrown form and in twenty minutes, it's got a life of its own. In another twenty, it's refined to museum quality, but it's in the next little while that it becomes a whimsical, haunting, narrative. He achieves this final step by adding all manner of "found items" to the piece and making it work as a unified statement. It is an amazing process to observe.

When he talks about his "found items" his eyes sparkle. It could be the porcelain cats and dogs he found at a thrift store or shards of broken pottery he found on a walk or unearthed doll parts from the former East Germany or even 800+ year old Mayan pottery pieces. Anything and everything is fair game when he's telling his story in clay. Peter brought quite a few of his treasures to show us before using some of them on his work.

Not only did we get to watch Peter work, but we got to see him work with his son Joe. Joe, who's twelve, was right by his father's side making a sculpture of his own. Joe's mom, Virginia was there to help out as well.

It was truly inspirational and a privilege to meet Peter, observe his work, and interact with him today. My mind is racing with all the possibilities he's got me thinking about, and I will be watching where I walk. You never know what you'll miss if you don't.

Peter's counting down from 100 pots and I believe he said today's was 57. I hope he gets as much enjoyment out of his next 56, I know everyone else will.

Thank you Mr. Lenzo.

Just beginning the forming.


Eyes and nose taking shape.

Peter and Joe.

A different perspective.

More detail.

A finished product next to a work in progress.

Greg admiring the piece.

Joe's piece is coming along nicely.

Peter starts on another leather-hard piece.

A chapeau.

Some underglaze and now the "found objects".

Both artists working.

More visual storytelling.

Everyone helps Joe.

Hard at work.

Getting there...

The finished (for today) product.

The second face.

Joe's piece.

Following are some finished pieces that Peter brought along.
Some are low-fire and some are fired to cone 10.

Finally here are some videos of the work completed today.

Peter's piece.

Joe's piece.

For more about Peter Lenzo, read here.
For more of his face jugs, go here.
For some of his earlier work, go here.

You can see all my pictures from the workshop here.


Ron said...

Great to see all this. I met Peter in 1999 and went down to USC as a visiting artist in 2001. I remember going out to Peter's studio where he showed me all his 'stuff'. There were drawers and drawers full of found objects, porcelain doll parts, things he had cast, like toy guns. He's a loving spirit. He and Virgina both have been very supportative of my work.

It's been a few years since I've seen him in person, so the long hair is new to me. Nice to see Joe there too. Thanks for sharing.

jbf said...

Sorry you missed it. It was a great workshop and I'm so glad I went. Greg asked questions from a different perspective (his!) that would never have occurred to me. That gave the experience an additional level to enjoy.

Elaine Spallone said...

Great blog, and photos/video. Wish I was there too! Thanks for being suck a good documenter!!

jbf said...

Thanks. You missed a good one, but I hope you had fun at the beach.

Becky said...

Wow! Looks like I missed an incredible experience! But since I couldn't be there the next best thing is to see it through your eyes. I'm sure you have plenty of stories to share too and I'm looking forward to them!

jbf said...

I hope to see you on Tuesday night (gotta make 100 pots, ya' know) and I'll answer any questions that I can.

doug fitch said...

wow, those are crazy - brilliant - but crazy!