Art opening is Sunday for Lissa Potter’s pottery

WORTHINGTON -- An artist's inspiration comes in many forms, and for Lissa Potter of Okoboji, Iowa, it's found in the works of famous artists like Van Gogh, Matisse and Leger, but also in everyday life -- like in the varying designs and textures o...

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One of five large pots Lissa Potter has featured in her show at the Nobles County Art Center is this one, called Bad Dog. (Tim Middagh/Daily Globe)

WORTHINGTON - An artist’s inspiration comes in many forms, and for Lissa Potter of Okoboji, Iowa, it’s found in the works of famous artists like Van Gogh, Matisse and Leger, but also in everyday life - like in the varying designs and textures of wallpaper or the pattern in a plastic doily.

Hints of each of these can be seen in Potter’s stoneware on display through February at the Nobles County Art Center. The exhibit opens with an artist reception from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday in the gallery, located in the lower level of the War Memorial Building, 407 12th St., Worthington.

Potter earned her bachelor in fine arts degree from Syracuse University, where she began her study in film and switched to studio arts because of her love for sculpting.

The centerpieces for her show at the Nobles County Art Center include five large pottery pieces featuring designs inspired by well-known artists. It’s a project she began in 2016 and hopes to continue expanding on in the new year.

The art history pots feature Potter’s take on Pablo Picasso’s painting of his doctor, flowers chairs and a window recognizable in Henri Matisse’s works; and a bedroom featured in one of Vincent Van Gogh’s paintings. One vase also features an imitation of Pierre Bonnard’s painting of a woman exiting a tub.


Not all of the largest pots focus on the works of other artists. Potter refers to one of the pots on display as Bad Dog, featuring “a whole bunch of dogs I just drew,” she said.

“Bad Dog is actually a logo for this political group called Conservadems,” she added.

The large pots go through a lengthy process to reach completion, Potter said, detailing five different firings to create each one.

“They’re hand-built out of clay and when they’re still wet I put wax on the whole pot on the outside and draw on it with a Sharpie (permanent marker),” Potter explained. “Then I carve out the drawing and take a black glaze and cover all the lines I just carved out. I fire it once and then I have a white pot with a black line drawing.”

With the outlines, Potter does a series of Cone 6 stoneware glazes, followed by the highest firing, to produce bold colors. She follows that with commercial decals, another firing, over-glazing, firing, adding metallic gold and silver lustres and then doing one last firing process to complete the pot.

In addition to the large pots, Potter will also display many of her functional pieces, from vases to cups and mugs in Raku pottery, as well as a sculpture comprised of numerous Raku pinch pots in porcelain.

Though it has been several years since Potter has done an exhibit, people can find her works in her store, Art on 16th, in Okoboji.

“For the art show, it’s nice to show the sculptural and the more complicated pots,” she said.


Potter opened Art on 16th three years ago. The gallery features not only her pieces, but the works of several other local artists as well. In addition, the space includes Kurio Kastle: Pottery Painting Palace, which provides a place for children and families to get creative in ceramics painting.

This is Potter’s first show at the Nobles County Art Center. All of the pieces in the exhibit are available for purchase.

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