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Lisa Ruhman


Lisa is a potter and has been with RWS off and on for about seven years. This is the third space she’s been in, having sublet different spaces in the past. She would leave for different life happenings knowing, somehow, she would always come back. “It’s finding a community for you for one part of your life and you know you want to be there so you make it happen.” All of Lisa’s work is intended to be used and enjoyed. She used to do all slab work, but now she’s thrown in some wheel work as well. Every piece is functional, patterned, and plays with the contrast between matte and shiny glazes. She is inspired by playful patterns. This love originates from the bathroom counter in her parent’s house that was grey Formica patterned with pink and white boomerangs. “I still think about that. So I do a lot of polka dots, spirals, and stripes.” She comes from a family of makers. Her dad was a carpenter and if she had been a boy she would have been a carpenter too. He was old fashioned and didn’t let the daughters use saws. (She has only sisters.) Lisa has always been a maker too. One of her earliest memories is working with her grandfather in his shop. He was also a carpenter and had a box of scraps at the end of his table that she was allowed to use to make sculptures with a hammer and nails. She went to college for graphic design and very quickly changed majors once she saw her sister’s friend’s ceramic work. It was high-fire brown glaze, which she doesn’t really find appealing. “I think it was that it was so cool she could take that lump of clay and make something functional out of it that was also a pleasure to hold and to use and to look at.” As soon as she saw it she thought, That’s what I want to do. So she switched.

She’s made ceramics off and on since then and has taught ceramics in high school for many years now. “I’ve always had my hands in it.” She has also written many grants to bring artists from the community into the school to work with students for a week, teaching them their techniques and giving them the experience of working with a working artist. These artists include RWS member Rebecca Verrill as well as Kari Radasch, Ingrid Bathe, and a few others. “It's a great community connection for the kids and that being an artist is possible.” Lisa continues to be inspired by her students as she watches them go through the same process of taking that lump of clay and making something they can use, and she loves when former students return as adults. This year one former student, who is now a designer and works in marketing (@JCRdesigns) made Lisa’s website and business cards and helped her develop her brand. Contact Lisa through that beautiful new website, ruhmanware.com, via email at ruhmanware@gmail.com, or through Instagram @ruhmanware.