It’s lovely to see what we humans will do for animals, especially those who don’t have forever homes. I first met Ezra Lavinsky when I heard of a potter doing a show at the Mountain Artists Guild and donating all the proceeds to an animal rescue. I was intrigued and reached out to him. Who is this guy who’s so passionate about animals?
“I’m just inspired by great pots. Form is everything to me.”
Born and raised on the East Coast, as a kid Ezra enjoyed the arts. In college he took a ceramic hand-building class and enjoyed it, but when he saw the work the art majors were doing in the wheel-throwing class, “it was like love at first sight,” he says. “I love the dynamic process of the clay spinning through my hands … it’s magic.” He became a very serious thrower, and in college would fall asleep with The Mud Pie Dilemma (a book about ceramics rock star Tom Coleman) on his chest. After college Ezra moved to Las Vegas to study under Coleman for two years. In recent years Ezra’s work has been strongly influenced by Steven Hill and Danny Meisinger. “Steven has been instrumental in helping me develop a more mature sense of form and design. Danny is a monster potter who has helped me up my technical game exponentially. I have been incredibly blessed to have the opportunity to study with people I consider to be among the greatest living potters.”
Ezra’s pots evoke classical forms, but with contemporary touches. His pieces command spaces where they can be admired without noisy clutter. The perfect shapes and layered, sprayed glazes make you want to take them in your hands. “People ask what inspires an artist. Some will say things like nature or whatever. I’m just inspired by great pots. Form is everything to me.” In recent years Ezra has been gradually working his way into the Prescott arts community. Soon he will move into a new home in Prescott Valley, where he’ll have a larger studio space and a big yard for his beloved English mastiff Bella.
Ezra’s other Great Love is animals, especially dogs. Ezra first met animal advocate Liz Stegmeir while volunteering at an animal rescue. Like most people who know Liz, Ezra was touched by Liz’s unwavering dedication to the animals and the relationships she forms with them. Liz managed the Circle L Ranch Animal Rescue for nine years till the division closed, and following that Liz says she was deeply concerned that there was more need for rescue facilities than could meet it. She and her brother began looking for property where they could start their own rescue, and settled on buying a former horse ranch in Poland Junction, near Mayer. When they arrived to sign the papers, the seller just signed over the deed for the nearly half a million-dollar property free and clear, simply saying it was a “God thing.” In 2018 AARF Animal Rescue and Sanctuary was born.
Many of the former Circle L volunteers brought their energy and time to AARF, helping build “bunkhouses” for the dogs. Each little house is insulated, heated and air-conditioned, and has a large fenced yard. Dogs are usually housed in pairs and are walked and brought into the common play area daily. Ezra donated the Puppy Palace in honor of a dog he rescued some years back, and other animal rescue enthusiasts have donated a memorial garden, solar panels and many other improvements. Liz and her colleague Nina both live in tiny houses on the property. There is great goodwill surrounding the place.
Ezra will have another show at Mountain Artists Guild that begins with a reception on the 4th Friday Art Walk from 5-8pm May 26 and running through June. All proceeds from the sale of his pottery will go to AARF, and Liz will be there to greet visitors and share information about the organization. Ezra is a member of Mountain Artists Guild. You can see more of his work on Instagram at #ezrapottery. To learn more about AARF Animal Rescue and Sanctuary, visit AARFrescue.org.