10 Questions for Liz Pechacek
*PRODUCTS are at the bottom of this page
What was the impetus for becoming a ceramic artist?
My mother is a painter and my father is a chemist, so I had the perfect combination of creativity and science in my early life. My mother encouraged me to attend her figure drawing classes and all types of other classes in other mediums. Through her, I was an assistant to a photographer and also a textile artist. Although my technical skills improved, I never settled on a particular medium until I got into ceramics in college. I fell head-over-heels in love with clay and then all my early training became very useful.
What inspires your forms and surfaces?
I am very interested in graphic density, color theory and experiments in negative space. My mother collected Acoma and Mata Ortiz pottery and I was influenced by the fine line techniques and compositions in those pieces. I also look to a lot of textile motifs, shapes in nature and metalworking for my forms and surface.
Who are your favorite artists?
I owe a tremendous debt to Lucy Lewis, Lucie Rie, Hans Coper, Harrison McIntosh, Magdelene Odondo, Zulu pottery, and all the ancient and Neolithic pottery that has been found and categorized by archaeologists and historians. I also love Kathe Kollwitz, Goya, William Kentridge, Egon Schiele, and way too many more to mention. I grew up going to museums and art shows and try to expose myself to as much art as possible. Oftentimes, the things I love the most are quite different from what I do in my studio.
How did your current aesthetic style come to be?
I have always had a certain horror vacui, or fear of empty space, that compels me to activate every inch of surface in my pots, and it can be difficult to allow a space to exist unadorned. When I first started making pots in college I was throwing, but I really found my voice when I started using a coil/pinch technique after a summer studying printmaking in Venice. By handbuilding, I was able to increase the scale of my work dramatically and I was able to exploit shapes that are more difficult to achieve on the wheel. The mottled surface and asymmetry influenced the graphic motifs and vice versa, creating a dialogue between surface and form that continues to be how I approach each piece.
What is your favorite form to make?
I love making bowls. There’s something about the resonance of a great big pinched bowl with a cavernous, ringing interior that will get me back in the studio every time.
What advice do you have for aspiring artists?
Make things, figure out a way to show it to people (shows, Etsy, craft fairs – whatever), get everything you can out of whatever education you can get and look at lots of diverse things! There’s a lot of strategies for getting yourself out there, but the most important thing is to make your work so that you have something to show.
Do you have other creative outlets/practices?
I cook and garden, but the studio can really take over my life, so I have to work to keep things in balance.
If you weren’t an artist, what would your dream job be?
I would love to be a gardener or flip houses. It’s so cool to work on something and see it transformed!
Any favorite meal/food?
I really like to eat. These days, I’m a total ramen nut.
What’s your spirit animal OR if you were an animal, what would you be?
Hmmm… Maybe a whale. It would be fun to coast around the ocean with a big, thick blubber coat and look at icebergs with my giant friends.