Making art was never an option for potter and contemporary folk artist Lisa Crews.
“Creating art has been my purpose since I was a young girl when I realized this is what I am good at, this is what I want to do, this is what I am meant to do,” she said.
Lisa has spent 40 years honing her craft and exploring different media. She continues to develop her art, though, and has found a new source of inspiration in her retreat studio at Meadowcreek in Stone County.
Lisa will open her studio to the public as one of the newest artists on the Off the Beaten Path Studio Tour this month.
Lisa originally went to college to study graphic design, but she quickly switched to clay.
“The malleability and immediacy of working with clay appealed to me. Then, there was the long drawn out process of drying, firing, glazing, firing again, and sometimes firing yet again to a finished piece that I had to learn and practice.”
Lisa studied ceramics at Arkansas State University, earning a bachelor of fine arts in 1985, as well as at Memphis State University and University of Delaware, Graduate Studies.
She taught public school art for 10 years in Missouri and Arkansas, during which time she learned the time-honored methods used to create Mississippian Native pottery from A.D. 500-1500 A.D., French Faience and English Delftware from the 17th and 18th centuries.
“I have recreated these styles of pottery for museums, historic sites, and living history enthusiasts for over 20 years,” she said.
“In recent years I have begun to focus on making work that is more personal, using art as an expressive outlet. This redirection has included using a wider variety of materials in combination, transitioning from ceramicist to mixed media artist. I use art making to give physical form to my thoughts, feelings, and peculiar observations. Most of my work is inspired by nature, the human condition, and our place in the world.”
Lisa’s new studio at Meadowcreek has provided a much-needed escape and an opportunity to work in solitude. As a result of COVID, Lisa moved from Fayetteville to Paragould to help her 80-year-old mother and 102-year-old grandmother.
She had visited Meadowcreek in the past, and Sage Holland suggested she begin using a space in the building where she has her bead making studio. While she still lives at Paragould, Lisa spends three or four days at a time in her Meadowcreek studio each week.
“So far, I’ve gotten to experience three seasons at Meadowcreek. The beauty of the surroundings here changes with each season,” Lisa said.
“The natural world has always been a source of inspiration for me. Being at Meadowcreek has provided a perfect opportunity to be immersed in nature and have a quiet, meditative place to work.”
Lisa has just completed construction of a series of vases and lidded boxes that are inspired by nature. Dragonflies, luna moths, ferns, turtles, frogs, and mushrooms decorate the surface of these pieces that will be available for the Studio Tour.
Lisa’s work may also be seen at the Arkansas Craft Gallery in Mountain View, the Eurekan Gallery in Eureka Springs, and Gallery 26 in Little Rock.
She also sells at events like Pink Palace Craft Fair in Memphis (Sept. 24-26 this year) and the Arkansas Craft Guild Christmas Showcase in Little Rock (Dec. 3-5).
“I am grateful and excited to be included in this year’s Off the Beaten Path Studio Tour,” she said.
The 19th Annual Off the Beaten Path Studio Tour will take place Sept. 17-19 in and around Stone County. For more information and a complete list of participating artists, visit offthebeatenpathstudiotour.com.