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Ceramic Hearts by Artist Lisa Agababian

Author: Susan Regan
Issue: February, 2011, Page 29
Photos by Jackie Alpers

Ceramist Lisa Agababian holds one of her Large Heart Wall Hangings outside her home studio.

Lisa Agababian

Profession: Ceramist

Company: Fuchsia Designs, Tucson; (520) 770-1946;

Medium: Low-fire clay

Education/training: Various ceramics classes, including those offered through Tucson Museum of Art, and Pima Community College; primarily self-taught

Background: Lisa Agababian has always had a passion for clay, but it was only recently that the native New Yorker became a full-time artist. Growing up, she took ceramics classes and taught the craft to youngsters at summer camp; she also sold her pottery at a festival in New York City as a teen. Agababian’s interest in the medium was shelved after high school, though, and she studied mathematics and computer science in college, later becoming a computer consultant.

In 1989, she moved to Tucson and took up the craft again. She says the hobby developed into something more serious, and, about five years ago—after a series of personal tragedies—Agababian decided to end her computer career and pursue ceramics. Today, the artisan works in her home studio, where she creates low-fire clay objects ranging from wheel-thrown tableware to hand-formed decorative pieces.

Hearts are a recurring motif and the focus of the ceramist’s Large Heart Wall Hangings, which display an array of vivid colors. “I just love color,” she relates. “I’m seeing color on a level I never did before.” As for the heart theme, Agababian says, “To me, it’s life and love—it’s everything. Spirituality and romance are very much connected; they are one and the same.”

The artisan produces her heart-shaped sculptures by first making freehand clay molds. The molds enable her to experiment with various designs, including pieces that incorporate other mediums, such as stained glass and metal. Vibrant glazes are added, and sometimes an underglaze is used to achieve detailed effects. She says she appreciates clay for its forgiving and adaptable nature. “If you have a perfectly centered piece, you can go anywhere with clay.”

Agababian offers ceramics workshops for small groups and participates in art shows and studio tours throughout Tucson.

Left: Titled Symptoms of Inner Peace, this low-fire clay heart with key measures 11"H x 8"W. • Right: When equipped with a water pump, Gratitude—an 11"H x 8"W sculpture—becomes a fountain.

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