Saturday, 23 July 2011

Back to reality: Owen Carpenter

Since my last post I’ve finished up my studies in the US, travelled around seeing family, before finally getting home to Sydney and my studio. Coming home to my work space more or less the same as I left it was an interesting experience, re-assessing previous works and bringing home new ideas. Most creative types know the feeling of being away from our chosen medium for a while. The best part of this is how you get that itching to get down to work on all the ideas that have been stewing away in the back of your mind. It’s probably my favourite part of being involved with ceramics, trying something new. So since I’ve been back I’ve cleaned up a bit (which may seem surprising when viewing picks of my studio) and started work on a few moulds that will hopefully yield a new crop of cups, plates and platters.

Previously we’ve been asked to write about our inspirations and how we digest the great content in our JAC. I started really getting serious about my ceramics in 2007, I was unsatisfied with my chosen major of object design and fell for the immediacy of using clay. As for inspirations, the most inspiring people I’ve been involved with have been my teachers as well as artists and designers who I’ve met along the way. The COFA staff has been a great inspiration to me through their patience and dedication to all things ceramics. The great staff here included Jacqueline Clayton, Roderick Bamford, Paul Davis and of course the trusty old techie Grant.

As far as artists who I find inspiring for my own work I’d have to say Gwyn Hanssen Pigott’s beautiful still lifes, especially the bottles, and Les Blakebrough’s early vases and orb pots were my first OMG ceramics moments. I can remember looking at these artists work and being amazed at the simplicity and complexity of their work. When it comes to contemporaries I admire the skill of Honor Freeman’s slipcast works. I’m always somehow drawn back to slipcasting in my own practice and seeing others who pull it off so well is really inspiring. Working alongside others has been most rewarding and inspiring. I completed an internship at Mud Australia, as well as helping out Andy Brayman ( on a large scale installation in the States.

The JAC is also something I’ve only been involved with for a short time. Since being a member I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the Journals for the great articles as well as keeping us up to date on what’s going on around the ceramics community. I’ve especially appreciated the interviews with artists who share their inspirations, work spaces and techniques. I first started reading the Journal at University, desperate to see more examples of work from Australia. These are definitely what makes the JAC such a fantastic resource to people starting out in ceramics.

Above are some images of the experimental slab work I was doing in the US and below is my studio space.

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