The Australian Design Centre will host a pop-up studio on Saturday 18 August from 10am-4pm as part of the Australian Ceramics Association Open Studios 2018.

We’re thrilled to have ceramicist Gillian Hodes in the gallery sharing her knowledge and showcasing ceramic techniques.

Come and join us for a fascinating demonstration and learn more about this talented artist.

What: Australian Ceramics Association Open Studios 2018 
When: Saturday 18 August, 10am-4pm
Where: Australian Design Centre
Who: Ceramicist Gillian Hodes
Cost: Free no bookings required

Find out more about the Open Studio Program here

View and download the Open Studio map for Sydney and Blue Mountains here.

 Gillian Hodes, a ceramicist and sculptor, is fascinated by contrasts – hard/soft, ephemeral/permanent, transparent/opaque, rough/smooth. Porcelain is the perfect medium for her exploration of these opposites: it is soft and malleable in its raw form, and very strong yet incredibly fragile after firing. Fine porcelain is translucent and when lit from behind appears to glow with an inner life. Gillian makes both functional and sculptural works, sometimes incorporating fibre, wool and other organic materials. She moves back and forth between figurative work and hand built or wheel-thrown porcelain vessels, inspired by the landscape, ocean and sky.

Gillian was born in Zvishavane, a small rural town in Zimbabwe. She grew up immersed in the African bush, surrounded Shona sculpture and African art. Her schooling in Harare, Zimbabwe was followed by University in Cape Town, South Africa. In 1999, she emigrated to Sydney, Australia with her family. She left the corporate world a few years ago in pursuit of a life as an artist, first studying sculpture at the National Art School, then ceramics at Northern Beaches TAFE. She says: “I find working with clay to be very meditative – I lose myself completely in a calm, quiet, internal space, a welcome respite from the hyperactive zone which I usually inhabit.”

 Q&A with Gillian Hodes

What is your 'origin story'?! Where did it all start? Describe the last thing you made?

Gillian: I strongly recall collecting clay from tall, pale, grey antheaps out in the bush when I was a child back in Zimbabwe (when it was still called Rhodesia.) We mixed the dry dust with water from a tap in the back yard and “squished” it until it became plastic. I recall squatting in a circle with some local children, making a cow out of the clay we had collected and made. I felt tremendous excitement that I could depict something life-like using mud. That child-like joy returned a few years ago. I was taking a sabbatical from work and I attended my first ever sculpture class at Waverley Woollahra Art School. I sculpted a life model in clay and was hooked. By the end of that year I had applied to, and been accepted by the National Art School.

The last thing I made (as I write this) was a multi-coloured nerikome vase and bowl. Nerikome is a technique of staining the clay and working with coloured clay, rather than painting a colour onto the surface of a finished piece.

What part of the making process do you enjoy the most?

Gillian: Like most potters, I love the moment of opening the kiln – it is a combination of excitement, and terror, as I never know how the work will have behaved and if the Kiln Gods have been kind. Most of all, I love the process of making, the feel of the clay as it yields to my hands, and the challenge of seeing how far I can push the material without destroying it.

Who should we be following on Instagram? Who are your favourite local makers?

Gillian: I’m pretty random about who I follow on Instagram; I tend to follow people who create interesting and unique shapes and forms. With regard to local potters, I love:

Anne Mossman, who makes exquisite, interesting and quirky pieces using coloured clay.

Mollie Bosworth who makes simple forms decorated with soluble salts which penetrate through the clay. I love the soft shadows and hues this creates.

What's next on the horizon for you?

Gillian: I have just returned from a fabulously inspiring trip to Japan, and I’m sorting through my ideas and notes to try to narrow down how to incorporate this into my practice. I’m planning on doing more with coloured clay.

Images: Gillian Hodes. Courtesy the artist.

End of article.