Lisa Kurtz ( she/her )

Artist Statement

My work highlights the malleable qualities of clay by emphasizing texture and form. I have worked with clay for over 40 years. I fell in love with the fluid and impressionable characteristics of this wonderful medium in college. 40 something years later I am still playing with clay. Rocks and water have always inspired me. I love the streams running through the mountains and also the ocean. I am fascinated by the effect of water on the earth and the calming effect it has upon me. The textures and colors in water, sand, sea birds, shells, rocks, and marine creatures inform my clay work and my glazes. I mix up all my own glazes and am often tweaking them to ​highlight the textures and marks that I put on my work. My goal is to infuse my work with the peaceful feelings that water worn rocks, landscape and waves give to me. I throw and hand build my pieces and like to combine the two methods to emphasize contrast. Currently I am highlighting the contrast between the softness of wet clay and the hardness of the finished fired work in my pieces. I encourage and welcome the happy accidents that take place in the firing process. This has led me to explore many different methods of firing, including soda firing, wood firing, pit firing and oxidation firing. As an artist and a maker of functional handmade objects, I always strive for the human connection between my work and the user of my pottery and I love the fact that people can use my work in their everyday lives. Teaching clay has also been an important part of my journey. If I'm not working in my studio, I am teaching students. I believe it's really important to share my knowledge of techniques with others that want to learn about clay.


Lisa Kurtz is a professional potter, clay artist, and educator. After earning her master’s degree in ceramics from the University of Louisville, she started her pottery, “Highland Pottery”, in the eclectic Highlands neighborhood in Louisville, Kentucky. Since then, she has been an exhibiting member for many professional guilds and artist associations including the Foothills Craft Guild, the Kentucky Crafts Guild, NCECA, the Kentucky Department of the Arts Marketing Program, the Knoxville Art Alliance, The Art Market Gallery, Tennessee Craft, and Terra Madre: Women in Clay. She has also served as a juror for many of these same groups. In 2015 she was awarded a grant from TN Craft and the Tennessee Arts Commission to be a “Master Artist” in their Master Artist Apprentice Program (MAAP). An award-winning ceramic artist, she has exhibited and sold her clay work in galleries and shops across the U.S. and in national and regional juried fine art shows and craft fairs. Lisa returned to her love of teaching in 2014.  She re-started the clay program and taught ceramics at Cleveland State Community College in Cleveland, Tennessee, including hand building, wheel throwing and clay sculpture. She also taught clay, drawing, and art history courses as an adjunct professor for several years at Pellissippi State in Knoxville. She has taught clay workshops and classes at art centers in Tennessee and Kentucky including the Appalachian Arts and Craft Center in Norris, Tennessee, Payne Street Pottery in Louisville, Kentucky and currently she teaches functional ceramics classes (including throwing and hand building) at the Oak Ridge Art Center in East Tennessee. Lisa also currently serves as the President of a local clay group in Knoxville called Terra Madre: Women in Clay and also serves as the current Marketing Chair for a local cooperative gallery in Knoxville – The Art Market Gallery – where she sells and exhibits her work.