Meet Westwood Artist Lisa WB Walker: Telling a Story in Clay
The ladybirds that adorn Lisa WB Walker’s collection of holiday dishware, like the other items she has created with wheel thrown and hand built ceramics, tell a story.
Ladybirds, also known as ladybugs, appear as carved illustrations on the surface of Ms. Walker's collection of small holiday plates that are meant for holding dips for oysters and other shellfish, and they are a reminder of the artist’s adventures on the southwest coast of France. It was in Gujan-Mestras, as she climbed large sand dunes and ate locally harvested oysters and shellfish, that she noticed the ladybird (or ladybug) emblem appearing everywhere, “from boats to buildings,” she says.
Now, when her customers dine on shellfish with Ms. Walker’s ladybird plates, they are sharing in Ms. Walker’s trip to Gujan-Mestras.
“I experience something and then describe it with clay,” she says. “When I first started working with clay in high school, I realized that it helped me work through things. It allowed me to verbalize what I was thinking, not with words, but with clay,” she says.
Following a decision in high school to pursue the artistic life, Ms. Walker entered Skidmore College where she earned her bachelor’s degree in studio art/art history. From there, she took classes and workshops at Harvard, the Museum of Fine Arts School, the Art Institute of Boston, and with master potters.
As an artist living in Westwood, Ms. Walker found herself leaving town to market her art. It was then, along with a group of four others who found themselves doing the same, that she co-founded Westwood Artists. The five co-founders were determined to fill a niche in Westwood by selling local art in their home town.
Now, in addition to creating, Ms. Walker teaches adult pottery classes. Community members may have come across Ms. Walker as an instructor at various locations. She teaches Mother Brook Arts in Dedham, Westwood Recreation Department’s after-school art and sculpting classes, and at Nobles Day Camp.
Describing herself as active and curious, Ms. Walker finds inspiration for her art not only through stories from travel, but from family, nature, and her customers. On artists who have influenced her, she has a long list. It includes Pablo Picasso, Warren Makenzie, Michael Klein and Kristen Keiffer, Julia Gallaway and Maria Martinez.