Liza Riddle ceramics




"For me, a successful piece casts an elegant shadow, evokes an inner power, and has surface decoration that mimics and celebrates the colors and patterns of nature." – Liza Riddle


As a young child growing up in California, USA, my passions were hiking in the hills and at the coast, discovering and understanding the natural world, questioning how things work, and making art. In college, while pursuing a bachelor’s degree in zoology I took numerous art classes, graduating with a minor in art, and later, earned a master’s degree in environmental planning at the University of California, Berkeley.

For several decades I worked to preserve and protect America’s natural lands, for the University of California, the State of California and lastly, the Trust for Public Land, a national non-governmental organization.  At every opportunity, I traveled and explored, my curiosity taking me to the spectacular terrain of the American southwest, snow covered peaks in California, and actively evolving, dramatic landscapes around the world – windswept Namibian dunes, Icelandic lava flows, and the cracked surface of high altitude salt flats in Bolivia.  I discovered ethereal light sculptures by James Turrell, and most importantly, cracked mud surfaces by Andy Goldsworthy.

As my interest in ceramics increased, I fell in love with the simple elegant forms by the Finnish artists Erna Aaltonen, Kati Tuominen-Niittylä, and Päivi Rintaniemi, biomorphic forms by Deirdre McLoughlin, and Joan Serra’s cracked earth cubes.  In my early fifties, after a rewarding and exciting career, I turned my focus to ceramics.

Portfolio I, illustrates two bodies of work: FORCE, captures a specific moment in time, a moment in the inexorable process of desiccation, cracking, and destruction I have so often observed in nature. The works in Elemental Palette have the same sharp edged surface tiles, but highlight various colors I can achieve using metal salts on all sorts of clays, some smooth and silky, others rough or with a high content of iron or kaolin. All of the works are quiet, but evoke a sense of power and resonate with contained energy.

In Portfolio II, I celebrate the sensual nature of clay, with carefully burnished and polished forms that beckon to be held and admired. In this body of work, I interpret natural objects and events, inspired by the rhythms, patterns and forces of weathered boulders on a mountain slope, wind ripples on a gray blue sea, the sensual shoulder line of a human figure.

Liza Riddle lives and works in Berkeley, California, USA.