Lisa Turner

i. I work as an artist, designer and Creative Director of Quake Studio.

ii. I do this creative work because:
My work fulfils an intrinsic desire to blend art and design, concept and creation, function and beauty with human vulnerability and the natural world.

iii. A typical day for my under COVID lockdown involves:
My daily life under the COVID lockdown involves journaling the language, stories and media around COVID-19 in a Chronicle I’ve named Pangolin. It’s the first thing I do, after making a coffee! I sit quietly for anywhere from an hour to an hour and 1/2 reading and writing. I then usually go outdoors, for a long walk with the dog, listening to a podcast or audiobook, sometimes music and often in silence. When I return home, I meditate for 20 minutes late morning, turning off all phones and electronic devices. I’ll then go through emails, zoom calls, work/doodle on new drawings and play on concepts for projects into the afternoon.

Late afternoons include reading, playing pickle-ball with our neighbours and food prep, cutting veggies, marinating things and baking bread (yes, I’ve succumbed to the baking frenzy of COVID-19). And sometimes the odd nap! Evenings have been fun as my partner and I have quarantined with our neighbours as a ‘bubble’ family and usually alternate dinners followed by card games, codenames and the odd round of Pictionary!


Polite Candles


Locarno Table


iv. Personal qualities that help me in my work are:
Personal qualities that help me work include my curiosity about life which feeds my creativity. I can work easily on my own, but I also love working in collaborative relationships. I’m an optimist.

v. The greatest challenges around doing this work are:
The biggest challenge in my work is managing production. I work with amazing trades, but materials can break, transport and shipping can be way too complicated and administration can take up a lot of time. This past year I’ve hired a terrific assistant, Gillian Haigh, a recent grad of ECUAD, which has been such a boon to my creative time.

vi. Creative Childhood hobbies:
My creative hobbies as a child can be summed up with my favourite subjects at school Art and PE! I spent a lot of time drawing and being outside. I loved designing jumping courses, building obstacles with found materials in the yard. I’d be a pony in another life!


Juan de Fuca Table


Quake Black Base. Polite Candle Brass


vii. Other creators who inspire you:
I’ve been inspired by so many creative minds in the arts, design and philosophy. The ones that come directly to mind are Philippe Stark, who I revered in design school, and industrial designer Sebastian Herkner. Artists that have influenced my thinking and my work include Babak Golkar, Janet Cardiff, Anthony Goldsworthy and Doris Salcedo. The late John O’Donahue writings, a poet and philosopher, speaks to my soul.

viii. Training that helped me in this career:
I have a degree in Political Science which gave me a global lens on history and current affairs. I did a foundation year at Emily Carr prior to entering design school which exposed me to my love of sculpture. Being able to draft by hand, learning before CAD became a thing, allowed me to express my 3 dimensional ideas on paper. I also continue to take courses in ceramics which help me mould new ideas. Fast forward 30 years, and my practice appears to merge between design, sculpture and conceptual ideas.

ix. A common trap that can hurt people in this career:
Common trap that can hurt people is not trusting yourself, your ideas and not allowing yourself to play. Having designed many pieces of furniture as an interior designer, my focus was on the clients’ needs. When I began to make functional art objects, the only person I had to satisfy was me. When I am pleased with the concept, materials and prototypes, I have to make it. It should be said, a lot of ideas and models evolved through play and experimentation and may never come to fruition, but they absolutely are essential to the process.


Qualicum Coffee Table


x. Some proud career moments:
My proudest career moment was the National Capital Commission acquiring my ‘Juan de Fuca’ table for the Governor General’s Residence at Rideau Hall.

I was delighted to have my work in “Decorative Arts”, a show curated by Lee Plested in 2016, and most recently being nominated for the third time as a finalist in Western Living Designer of the Year awards. Finally, I am so proud that my work is represented in various Canadian embassies and consulates around the world.

xi. Upcoming shows or Events include:
Life with/in Objects – a digital artistic project curated by Farah Siddiqui and Natasha Mehta

xii. If you want to work in my field, I suggest that you:
If you want to work in my field, I suggest you explore the history of art and design, develop skills to express your ideas visually, and learn from as many people as possible. Build your community of fellow like-minded souls to bounce ideas and share skills. Keep learning.

xiii. A professional goal I have for the future:
The future is to continue exploring the frailties of humanity with the power of nature, through functional art, sculpture and mixed media. I would love to make larger works for private and public commissions. To have my work in galleries in dialogue with other artists working in similar themes would be amazing.

xiv. If you want to see my work, go to:.
Quake Studio Website
Lisa Turner Studio



Header: Qualicum Low Tide Table


Missing Museums + Galleries


Nikki Alagha

Elizabeth Newton

Elizabeth Newton