Where you live: Tucson, AZ
My work reflects my passion for natural history, environmental conservation, and an idiosyncratic mix of multi-culturalism with my Oriental heritage, Western education, and having lived in so many places. My sculptural pieces resulted from an initial exploration into Chinese and Japanese folklore and fables, of a world where animals can transfigure into human form (they are called Shape Shifters), where humans are not the master of the world, but the power of animals can subvert, as well as ultimately protect, the survival of humans. These Shape Shifters also teach lessons of morals to children, often in a humorous way, much like those of Aesop and Hans Christian Andersen. Shape Shifters also exist in Western folklore, including Irish and German; Native American Kachinas are a familiar version as well.
Media you work in: Clay / Pottery
I also like to use functional forms as three dimensional canvases to depict multiple perspectives of a subject matter on contiguous two dimensional surfaces, such as the outside and inside of a bowl.
Josephine Lai grew up in Hong Kong and studied in London. She came to the United States for a career in the biosciences and eventually joined the University of Arizona College of Medicine. After retiring from teaching and research in 2011, she started practicing art full-time. She set up a ceramics studio to create original sculptural and functional work. In addition to her ceramic work, she practices Chinese calligraphy, brush painting and digital photography.
Lai's online company, Readingteacher.com, which she co-owns with her husband, Francis Morgan, consists of books that she illustrated as part of a program for beginning English readers.
Lai loves the Southwest for its landscape, history and cultural heritage. Her ceramic work is shown regularly at an art gallery in Tucson. She also donates her works to charitable auctions and fundraising events.