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Leslie Wentzell

My art is influenced by nature and by emotions. My ceramics are mostly hand-built, including pottery as well as sculpture and some bas relief, sometimes incorporating wheel-thrown components. I often use terracotta clay, leaving parts of it unglazed, because of its warm, earthy color and the way it influences the glazes I use over it.

I use birds, animals and other elements of nature to reference our inner emotional lives. I am also drawn to the figure and use often use it along with references to nature in my sculptures. Our outer countenance often masks our emotions. I allude to what lies beneath the surface, ironically, by the surface decoration that I use.

Covid-19 and the fallout from it, has freed me up to be more experimental and so I am currently exploring an abstract body of work, working in collaboration with a painter, Libby Newman, where we each respond to the work of the other in our own medium. It has been a challenge to respond to a 2 dimensional painting with a 3-D form – not replicating the painting at all, but responding to it.

I live in Port St. Joe, having moved there in 2006 from Wisconsin. I have run The Artery Studio since 2009, giving classes and running open studios. However, in 2020, I changed the focus of the studio, eliminating classes and open studios to focus on my own work, with a small gallery space up front.


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