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Lilly Lerner

What clay body do you use?

" Any clay available in my recycling bucket.  Recently I have been working with Balcones White (fired at cone 6) and B Mix (cone 5-6)"

Primary forming method?

"Hand building "

Primary firing temperature?

"Midrange cone 5/6 "

Favorite surface treatment?

" I love to constantly experiment with textures, surfaces and colors.  Love them all."

"Miriam y Lilly childhood memories"

"Between Passion and Shyness"

"The immigrant dreams"

"Bar-Mitzvahs and weddings"

Favorite Tools?

"Shredders from Mud Tools, Polymer and Metal Ribs, Needle Tool, Sponges "

Describe your studio environment.

"Until recently I worked in a cooperative studio, Nosami, in the Houston Heights with other 9 clay artists. Starting 2021 I have moved to the Texas Hill Country (Kerrville), where I am setting up my own studio.  I will maintain a cooperative work connection with clay artists in Houston."

"The love of my love"

"Michelle Obama"

"Bob's favorite"

"My yellow purse was magical it made me

believe that everything was possible"

"Outlived Franco to Shop at Trader Joe's"

How/Where do you market and sell your artwork?

"Generally, I have marketed my work though galleries, faithful art collectors or just word of mouth.  Currently, I am investigating new marketing strategies."

"Nancy Pelosi"

"Dreaming of one of those never-ending nights.  An enchanted night."

What sparks your creativity? What drives you to work with clay?

"I have always been a storyteller, but since I started working with clay, I found my best medium for telling stories.  In general, my sources of creativity are my observation of human actions and interactions and the physical reactions of clay when manipulated.

Let me give an example: when I start building a clay purse that embodies a story, I use as the main visual image an individual or a group of individual’s behaviors, such as, for example, their ability to overcome obstacles.  That is where the story starts and as I continue building my piece, the clay starts to react, and the story takes form.  There are times when the clay decides to slump or crack--I do not fight it; I usually embrace it because that physical reaction is in itself another source of inspiration."               


"To those that gave me my voice"

"Caribbean Memories"

"Window of opportunity"

Did you come to ceramics from a different career? Tell us about your journey to a ceramics career.

      "Mud has always been in my blood. I was always the kid with the dirty hands.  As a child, I took some pottery classes, which I loved.  Always, while building a career in the computer industry or working as a full-time mother, I had a burning desire to work with clay.   Finally, once my children got older, I joined the Glassell School and started working in ceramics more seriously.  In Houston, I was very lucky to be surrounded by very talented group of clay artists willing to share their knowledge with me.  They were, and still are, my teachers."

      "Forgotten Colombians"

      "La Tia Pola"

      "1967 Memories"

      How have you have taken your experience as a well-established maker in the field and passed that knowledge along to your other artists?

      "I have been part of the Nosami clay art studio.  During the 2020 pandemic, the Nosami members had a series of Zoom sessions to share techniques that we use in our work.  Once a week for ten weeks we got together virtually and shared our knowledge.  That is not the only time that I have shared my knowledge with others; but, the sessions not only enhanced my technical skills, they certainly provided a time that helped me focus on the wonders of clay instead of the difficulties of the times.  Importantly, it was collective surviving skills that we passed along to each other."

      "Empty nest"

      "La SeƱorita Alicia"

      "RBG on her way to the opera"

      "The blue purse on the purple shelf"

      What’s the best advice you’ve been given by a fellow maker, mentor, or teacher?

        Take yourself seriously, be willing to share, work on your skills, listen to others, be willing to learn from failures"

        "Messengers and the Queen; Michelle Obama, Angela Merkel, Hillary Clinton, Queen Elizabeth and Eleanor Roosevelt"

        "They became professionals"

        "Surviving Rita"


        Lilly Lerner has worked as a clay artist for the last 18 years. The body of Lilly’s work depicts the elements of daily living, mostly women’s purses that tell stories about their human journey.  

        Lilly studied ceramics at the Glassell School.  More recently, she was a member of the Nosami Studio, where she worked and showed her art.   Currently, she has relocated to the Texas hill county (Kerrville), where she is setting up a ceramics studio.


          PO Box 667401
          Houston, TX 77266

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