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Artist: Lesley Bevan

Lesley Bevan, 

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When Lesley first touched clay, she was a visiting actor at the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, where she would throw all day, then race to rehearsal at night, splattered with mud.

For years she chased two passions, clay by day and theatre by night, sometimes smuggling work into her dressing room, to slip-trail pots during intermission. She clearly remembers delivering Lady MacBeths "Out, damned spot” speech in front of a paying audience while simultaneously working out the design for a new mug in her head.  It was a moment of clarity.  Shortly thereafter she bowed out of theatre and clay took center stage.

Lesley continues to tap those years spent inhabiting other lives, cultures and time periods. She is inspired by historical costumes and how they tell the story of the person wearing them. How a vintage prop can open the door to a bygone era. How a certain exotic textile motif can nudge the mind halfway across the world. She tries to build these same transportive qualities into her work, creating beautiful everyday objects with a story to tell, and the power to transport the beholder.


Artist Statement 

I come to ceramics through the lens of a long career in theatre. It’s an actor’s best kept secret that everything she touches on stage informs her character and helps her tell a story.  A sturdy, flat-bottomed stein might put her in mind of a rowdy Shakespearean pub.  The refined delicacy of a porcelain tea cup straightens her spine and transports her to Edwardian England. I still play with these “portals” to another time and place through considerations of weight and texture, and with the use of textile patterns from around the globe. The ornate designs which characterize my work are made by slip-trailing—the process of  piping liquid clay onto the surface of a vessel, much like decorating a cake. Each piece is painstakingly piped freehand, resulting in raised patterns into which I lay a second, third or fourth glaze. My desire is to create tactile, flowing designs which are a joy to touch and perfectly express my love of Art Nouveau, Arabesque motifs, Asian textiles and the repetitive geometry found in nature. I used to get frustrated when my delicate, free hand designs would get obscured or obliterated in the soda kiln, but I’ve come to embrace the chaos of soda as another layer of the story.  My hope is that everything I make transports the beholder in a small way, begging the question, “What’s the story...what happened here?”



Ceramics Instructor, Stirling Hall, Lake Forest, IL, 2022 to Present

Soda Firing Monitor, Lillstreet Art Center, Chicago, IL, 2021 to Present 

Studio Artist, Lillstreet Art Center, Chicago, IL, 2020 to Present
Studio Artist, Midwest Clay Guild, Evanston, IL, 2019 to 2020
Ceramics Teaching Assistant, Lillstreet Art Center, Chicago, IL, 2016 to 2020 

Artreach Monitor, Lillstreet Art Center, Chicago, IL, 2016-2018 

Glaze Monitor, Lillstreet Art Center, Chicago, IL, 2014 



Functional Ceramics Exhibition, 2022, Wooster, OH

Cup, the Intimate Object XVI, 2020, Charlie Cummings Gallery, Gainesville, FL 

Midwest Clay Guild Holiday Show, 2019, Evanston, IL
Lillstreet Art Center Holiday Show, 2017, Chicago, IL
Baldwin Wallace University Invitational Cup Show, 2014, Berea, OH

Lillstreet Art Center Member Show, 2012 - 2014, Chicago, IL



Evanston Lake Shore Arts Festival, 2014-2016
Hinsdale Fine Arts Festival, 2016 -2019
Glencoe Festival of Art, 2017
Glenwood Avenue Arts Fest, 2013-2015
Downtown Downers Grove Fine Arts Festival, 2016-2019 



Charlie Cummings Gallery, Gainesville, FL

Lillstreet Gallery, Chicago, IL 2020 

Vale Craft Gallery, Chicago, IL 2014



Northwestern University, Bachelor of Speech in Performance Studies 1994 

British American Dramatic Academy, Fall 1993 

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