ARTIST PROFILE: Katia Liberato Lemos

Ceramic artist Katia Liberato Lemos brings a touch of whimsy to her work. 

Hold up one of Katia's bowls and you'll see a gardener sprinkling tiny red hearts from a watering can, on another she's hand-painted a girl at the beach with her blue dog and another has a bird perched on a woman's nest-like hair. Her multi-coloured creations: platters, bowls, mugs and vases, playfully pay tribute to wildlife like dragonflies, birds and bees. 

“I do a lot of drawing in the springtime, as I explore nature, gardening and growing,” says Liberato Lemos, owner of Creative Insight Studio.

On any given day, Katia's workspace is covered with stamps, stencils and silkscreens in her Burlington home studio. “I like to spread everything out and leave it that way. I prefer to work during the day without interruptions, since my pieces take a lot of time,” she says.

The Brazilian-born artist, searches for interesting objects everywhere.

“My job is to go to stores and find textures that I can press into clay. When I can't find what I want, I make them out of clay and stamp the shape into the pottery,” she explains.

Although some of her pieces are similar, no two are alike. She hand-paints some, silk screens others and plays with a combination of techniques to make her work unique. In her latest series of bowls, she divided the surface area into sections creating original designs with a playful twist.  

“I like to use a lot of colours, the mugs and bottles I'm making have different colours in the background,” she says.

For very fine pieces like dragonfly platters, the artist begins with sky blue or marigold in the background and then silk screens on the image. On her latest trip to Brazil, she found a carved wooden picture frame that she pressed into the clay, giving texture and detail to the platter's edges. For larger pieces with flowers and hearts, she hand draws and uses a slip decoration on top consisting of a mixture of water and clay.

Liberato Lemos' collection also includes nesting bowls ““ a large one for salad with smaller bowls nestled inside, decorated with a hand-painted brown bird. Individual water bottles with a tiny cup resting on top are also hit. “People like to keep them by their bed in case they get thirsty during the night,” says Lemos. “In Brazil, they are everywhere!'

Although some of Lemos' clients enjoy displaying her work, she takes great joy in knowing that people are using her pottery. “Even my very fine oil and vinegar pieces are functional. My ceramics are food safe ““ I send samples of colours and glaze to be tested in a lab, so everyone can safely use what I make,” she explains. “Every piece is dishwasher and microwave safe.”

Summer days are occupied teaching children the joy of art. “I work with small groups of kids ““ I like to think that art is something we can teach to kids.” She runs creative team-building workshops for corporations and offers bridal shower parties in her home studio complete with wheel throwing and hand-building of 3D pieces.

Recently, Lemos' bright floral vases were on display at Toronto's Gardiner Museum. Her collection is also on display at Hamilton's AllSorts Gallery, 244 Ottawa Street North.

 “I like to make one of-a-kind pieces. To make special pieces makes me happier than to work on a hundred bowls of mass production,” she says. “I'm not there ““ I'm on the other scale ““ I make what I like and that keeps my creativity going!”

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