Jefferson County
BA Art History/Archaeology (University of Maryland at College Park)

Ceramics and Pottery

Lisa Kovatch

My little studio is tucked into the rolling Appalachian foothills near the Shenandoah River in lovely & historic Harpers Ferry. Using earthenware clay on the potter’s wheel & paper templates, I create utilitarian pots with a folksy sensibility. My designs reflect many simple things I hold dear… green ferns unfurling from a rain-soaked forest floor; a cheerful patch of zinnias in my sunny cottage garden; daily walks through the surrounding woods & fields; the sound of nesting songbirds. The hand-painted surfaces are rich in color and subtle texture, influenced by the exuberant culture of my childhood in Kenya, where vibrant hues and bold patterns dominate textiles & personal adornment, and where creativity & resourcefulness are a part of everyday life.

I am in my final year of the Foundation’s Rural to Urban Markets program. This invaluable experience has enabled me to place my work in fine galleries & shops across the country, to network with fellow artisans across the state, and to refine my marketing skills.


While studying for a graduate degree in Museum Studies, I stumbled upon a part-time job as studio assistant to professional potter, Trista Chapman. I soon found I was smitten with clay and left school to focus on honing my technical skills and learning all I could about the business of making. Three years later, I moved to Harpers Ferry, set up my studio, and hit the road, attending juried craft shows from Massachusetts to Florida, and as far west as Chicago. Now, 14 years later, I have firm roots in West Virginia, my beautiful, inspiring, adopted state.

My work is rooted in Early American slipware, which was in common use when my early-1800s house was constructed. It’s nearly impossible to avoid unearthing pot sherds whenever I work in the garden, and I love knowing that in the making of my work I continue an historical tradition.

I am currently pursuing my West Virginia Master Naturalist certification (inspired by the national Master Gardener program),  a volunteer effort to support conservation within the state and to share what I learn with others.