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CULTURAL CURRENTS: Leslie Fruman

author: Conrad Beaubien   photography: Keith Beaty

Cultural Currents - Fall 2018 - Leslie Fruman

STEPPING INTO LESLIE FRUMAN’S SURROUNDS IS TENFOLD THE EXPERIENCE OF MUSÉE DE L’ORANGERIE IN PARIS, which houses the titanic Water Lily series of Claude Monet. In Fruman’s space, the lilies blanket her outdoor landscape, offering a daily panorama of oranges, whites and yellows.

“My work in clay references my immediate world,” Leslie begins, as we sit on a sweep of veranda overlooking the mouth of the Black River in Prince Edward County.

Fruman is stirred by the ‘Wabi-Sabi’ aesthetic, a philosophy that finds balance in simplicity, and beauty in imperfection. “I roll out a slab of clay, texture it with a pattern, cut it and allow it to speak to me. It’s the surface story, and then the shape it calls for, that’s fun.”

Leslie lines up some examples: “I’ve done what I call wall pockets where the mix of imbedded marks may be from a doily, a woodblock stamp, plant samples, a Persian rug and here, I’ve made a set of dishes using the gingko leaf ’s innate patterns. A clay-shape could end up becoming an air-plant holder or a plate in a palette of aqua and greens.”

Following a career in network television and journalism, Clayshapes is the centrepiece of Leslie’s experience today. “It’s a privilege to be able to do what I do here in this mystic setting. Once my new studio is finished I don’t know where it’ll take me next.”

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