This series of works, Connections, focuses on social connections, the joys of friendship, communication and human interaction. The quirky figures are drawn from my imagination with inspiration taken from day-to- day life in Mildura – attending markets, playing and listening to music, cooking, and catching up with friends for a meal. The rather naïve figures were inspired by medieval art with flattened perspective and blocks of colour.
I trained as a painter and printmaker at RMIT in Melbourne, and have always loved the immediacy of drawing and painting directly onto canvas or paper using a variety of paint mediums. I had never really explored clay as a medium until around five years ago, when I enrolled in a short course in jewellery making at SuniTAFE with local ceramic artist, Jayne Bawden. I fell in love with clay and the glazing process, and have continued to work in this medium since that time, joining the Mildura Pottery Club to keep learning.
Painting with underglazes on clay is quite a different process to the more traditional forms of painting I learned at art school, and the underglazes can be quite unpredictable when fired to 1280°C in a kiln – the colours can change considerably, which can be both problematic but also exciting. All the bowls and tiles for this exhibition were hand-built and fired to bisque temperatures before commencing outline drawings in blue, black and grey underglazes and gradually painting layer upon layer of colours onto the surfaces to build the pictures and refine the images. The expressions on each of the figures evolve during the painting process. Some of the colours seem to burn out and fade when fired to 1280°C, while others stay bold and strong – I really enjoy the organic nature of this process and the uncertainty of how each piece will turn out.