Monday, 25 July 2011

Inspirational Australian Ceramists (1): by Maria Vanhees

We were asked to talk about Australian ceramists who have inspired us. I probably won’t be able to discuss all of them today, but I will make a start and make more contributions in the following days/week.
In 2003, I met Victor Greenaway at the occasion of an artist talk while he was working as an artist in residence at Atelier De Cirkel in Brasschaat, Belgium. It was a significant occasion because it eventually helped me to make the decision to come to Australia to study ceramics.
Later on, I ended up working with Vic for a few days at Sturt in Mittagong, NSW, while he was there as an artist in residence in 2004. Even though there is no immediate relation between his work and mine, I have always been impressed and inspired by Vic’s skill and focus, his dedication, professionalism and lifestyle. Watching him throw one of his thin-walled large spiral bowls is a truly entrancing experience.
Looking at the work he made in the past and seeing how it has evolved over the last few years, it seems to me that his work is strongly influenced by the environment he lives in. I suspect that his art plays a role in his connecting to place, as well as processing the experience of a new place and making sense of it.
These thoughts relate to how and why other Australian ceramists I will talk about have inspired me. But let me tell you this first: In 2004 during the ceramics conference in Gulgong, I bought my first Journal of Australian Ceramics in a shop somewhere along the way from the campground to the Prince of Wales! It was issue 39 #4 from 2000 with Victor Greenaway’s beautiful black and white spiral vessels on the front cover!
More to follow…

2 comments:

  1. Hi Maria, How do you do? Victor Greenaway is one of my favorite ceramic artists in Australia!

    I thought over by readying your blog "... his work is strongly influenced by the environment he lives in. I suspect that his art plays a role in his connecting to place, as well as processing the experience of a new place and making sense of it." made me re-think where I want to live.

    I am still looking for my space. I came from Osaka Japan where so many people and buildings are. At the moment, I live in Sydney. but I am looking for the right place which fits my practice and my family. (I just gave a birth and become mother)

    I wanted to look more of your work. I went to look Australian ceramic directory, but I could not find you. Do you have a website?

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  2. Hi Keiko, Unfortunately I haven't got my website up yet. I'm working on it. In the meantime you could have a look on http://www.skepsionswanston.com.au/artists.htm to see some more images of my work. I urgently need to post some more work here too.
    I will be posting more on artists that have inspired me soon, and this will again relate to environment and nature. You're right, it is so important, the environment where you live. I'm from Belgium, which is a small and densely populated country. I love the sense of space and nature in Australia. I live in Bendigo, Central Victoria, hoping one day to be able to move closer to the bush (although I'm not too far from it now). I don't think I could live in a big city for too long myself. I get a lot of inspiration from nature.
    Anyway, congratulations on becoming a mother. I love how you carry your baby with you in the studio!

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