Monday, 5 September 2011

Rona Sissons, Curiouser and curiouser!

I graduated from Edinburgh University and art college in the 70s, failed dismally to find any (paid) job in the arts world and, fed up with five years of abject poverty, sold out to the (then fledgling) IT industry for 27 years.

Seven years ago I had an epiphany, and enrolled in a ceramics course at Hornsby TAFE. I’m still there!

The work I produce is primarily sculptural and non functional. I use clay to realise the creatures of my imagination. I seek inspiration in everything around me, animals, art, literature even politicians!  My main interest is in the figurative, both human and animal, realistic and mythical. I relate to works which express emotions and feelings. I like the unconventional, the quirky, works whose title incorporates a play on words, and, if I can provoke a reaction in the beholder, then I feel I have succeeded.

While I like the idea of eating and drinking from beautifully thrown vessels, making functional ware has absolutely no appeal for me .

The title I have chosen for my upcoming exhibition at Hornsby TAFE is a quote from Lewis Carroll, “Curiouser and Curiouser”, and is a reference not only to wonderful images that reading Carroll’s works conjures up but to the quirky nature of my anthropomorphic rabbits and other creatures. I love the way that animals can mimic  human behaviour and emotions and I feel again that I have to mention  the  one ceramic artist whose work I admire the most, the American sculptor, Beth Cavener Stichter. Checkout her website, It’s amazing!  At one point she was scheduled to give a workshop at ANU, which I had made up my mind to attend, but for quite some time now, it has been on hold. Another casualty of the GFC?  

I also admire the way she has made it on the contemporary art scene without compromising the use of clay as her medium. I do feel that in sculptural circles, ceramic sculpture suffers in the traditional artistic hierarchy. I am not sure what would constitute the apex but certainly marble carving and bronze cast work are right up there while ceramic sculpture is way down the list. I find this somewhat ironic since most contemporary bronze work is first modelled in clay, at which point the sculptor’s active involvement in the artistic process ceases and the work is handed over to be professionally cast in a foundry. So surely the clay work is the most immediate and representative of the hand of the artist.

Having said that though, I don’t want to sound as if I take myself and my work  too seriously. My sculptures are meant to be enjoyed. In that spirit, I add here some of my latest works. Hopefully any lover of Lewis Carroll will recognise them:)


  1. I think that your work has sense of humour!!

  2. hi rona, its me again! I checked the website of Beth Cavener Stichter. OMG!!!!! it is aMazINg!!!!!