ABOUT THE ARTIST

Harry Leaf was born in the Chicago area and moved to San Francisco in 1985 where despite the fact that art was always his calling he earned a law degree.  Upon completion of the law degree in 1989 he immediately asked himself ”what was I thinking?” and became a painter and sculptor. 

The goddesses arrived in 1997. To this day they emerge from his head in every imaginable shape, size and color: each one unique. For the first time the art he made looked back at him, and for that reason he continues to create and has never looked back.

Each piece is individually handmade and glazed by Harry in his studio in San Francisco, California. His glazing and design techniques have evolved over the years.  With the choice of a variety of different color clays and glazes, firing temperatures and new and unusual textures each goddess has an individual look and feel all its own.

Harry Leaf's ceramics have been displayed in shops and galleries across the country with collectors around the world.

If in the San Francisco/Bay Area you can visit Harry Leaf's studio. It is located at 552A Noe St., San Francisco, CA 94114 (on Noe between 18th St. and 19th St.). No appointment is needed. The studio is usually open everyday between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm and most evenings as well.

 

DIFFERENT FIRING TECHNIQUES:

The goddesses are initially fired in an electric kiln. Afterwards, they are fired in electric, gas or raku kilns to produce the finished pieces.

As the name suggests electric firings are done in a kiln heated by electric elements that heat the pieces up to 2100 to produce the finished work. Similarly, the gas kilns use natural gas to heat up the kiln to 2300 for the finished pieces. At their respective temperatures in each of these kilns the glazes melt and the clays change color giving life to the goddesses inside.

Raku is a technique first mastered by the Japanese. It combines fire, smoke, air, clay, glazes, organic materials, and high heat. Each figure goes through a volatile firing process which transforms it into an unique creation.  Each piece is pulled from the kiln while red hot, at approximately 1800 degrees, and immersed into organic materials. The resulting smoke and fire reacts with the Raku glazes to produce the dramatic effects of the finished pieces. On these particular goddess figures, the reaction between the Raku process and the glazes can change the expression on the goddesses' faces giving life and individuality to the finished figures. Since each piece is individually handmade, variation in color, size and design occurs and is considered part of the charm of handmade Raku sculptures.