Saturday, July 10, 2010


I've been doing a spot of work to help out at this lovely gallery recently. Working around pieces by some of my favourite contemporary artists is a bit special. The gallery director sent a set of questions to all our artists last week, and we received some great answers that make so much more sense than silly artist statements. Of course, reading all of their answers make me wonder what I would I had a go!

girl cup complete with 24ct gold lustre

1. At what age did you begin creating art?

I remember drawing Disney characters during a thunderstorm when I was about 4 years old. I think my Mum was distracting me from being scared. I was 14 when I started working with ceramics, but I loved playing with plasticine and clay as a kid.

2. Why do you make art?

Because I'm good at it! Most days. I haven't yet found anything else that can hold my attention like ceramics.

3. Who do you make it for?

First it was for me, to fill my kitchen cupboards, then family and friends wanted pieces, and now there are nice strangers out there that buy my work!

4. Do you plan out a piece or do you wing it?

It depends on what I want to make. If its a new design I will usually sketch out ideas on paper, but it can be really hard to imagine a 3D form on paper, so it can be easier to start off with a clay prototype then go back to the drawings later.

5. Do you have heroes?

Clarice Cliff in particular has inspired me for years. She was the first female ceramic designer in the Staffordshire Potteries in the 1930s. For a woman of that era she was revoluntionary. I also love the work of Gustav Klimt, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, and my own teacher, Michaela Kloeckner.

6. How do you decide when a piece is finished?

When it gets too dry to work with! There is a certain timeframe to respect when working with ceramics. I try to keep my work simple yet unusual. Not knowing how the work is going to look after the glaze firing can be very difficult, so a lot of it is guess work.

7. Do you have your own cure for artist's block?

Beach walks are good, especially at sunrise. Talking to people helps too, asking their opinions of my work. People who don't have the facilities to make their own pots usually have some great ideas and don't mind sharing. In fact they get very excited that I've made something that they inspired!

8. Do you think having an art education is important in order to be successful?

I believe that primary and secondary schools should provide a solid arts education. Sadly its the first department to go when money is tight and is considered a 'soft' subject. That needs to change. I'm skeptical about arts at university. I've met too many arts graduates who can't balance their books. There is a lot that uni doesn't and can't teach. I believe in apprenticeships, learning on the job and respecting those people who have perfected their craft over a lifetime.

1 comment:

  1. I love ms cliff and have this ridiculous dream of one day finding a piece by her at a garage sale or op shop...liked reading your thoughts about making a living and uni...


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