Wednesday 18 October
THE CLAY CHRONICLES: an opportunity to hear two established ceramic artists present an era of ceramic history and its influence on their practice; followed by a conversation between the artists about their careers.
The inaugural session will feature Andrei Davidoff and Gerry Wedd.
ABOUT THE TOPICS
‘The Willow Pattern is the white bread of ceramics, perhaps the most popular, ubiquitous and silliest of ceramic decorations. It is so inauthentic that it is wide open to re-interpretation and usage without stepping on anyone’s cultural footprint. I will muse on the history of the pattern, it’s origins and global meanderings and perhaps on it’s usage by contemporary ‘creatives’.
My interest in North Carolina ceramics came together from a bunch of different directions. My initial introduction and training in ceramics was working alongside an Australian woodfirer, Sergei Shatrov – who works in a Japanese inspired, Leach-Cardew tradition. From 2010, while studying at RMIT, I started looking more and more for European ceramic traditions that predated Leach and his Potter’s Book, and the so-called clay resurgence which we’re still surfing today.
I was especially interested in non-Eastern woodfiring traditions and cultures, and there are a number of them. La Borne in France still has a woodfiring core, German salt glaze ware, which can still be found in pockets, English salt glaze, and finally North Carolina tradition, which is in fact rooted in German salt glaze. German farmer potters moved to Virginia, North Carolina and Kentucky – farming in the summer, potting in the winter.
Recently I've started concentrating on surface decoration on my exhibition pieces – and again I came back to North Carolina pottery - writing jokes, short poems, and adding humorous images to the surface of the pots, and placing them into the kilns in particular ways for the firing effects to interact with the surface decoration.
ABOUT THE SPEAKERS
Davidoff is a ceramic artist and sculptor based in Melbourne, Australia.
His functional ceramic pieces are predominantly wheel-thrown and are made from local clay in his Melbourne studio. He is one of Australia’s most sought after ceramicists by restauranteurs, having been commissioned by such esteemed establishments as Vue de Monde, Estelle by Scott Pickett, Merricote, Guillames.
Andrei’s exhibition practice parallels his production works, he completed his Masters in Fine Arts at RMIT University in 2012 focusing on themes that explore architectural structures and spaces through interventions. Most recently his work covers themes of iconography from the histories and theories of studio pottery as has exhibited at Mr Kitly, Craft, Bus Projects and Vaucluse House (Sydney).
Wedd is a prominent Australian potter who lives on the coast of South Australia's Fleurieu Peninsula and seaside themes are often found in his work. His many and eclectic occupations include being a designer for the surf wear company Mambo from the late 1980s until 2006. By incorporating nostalgic, personal and typically Australian references in his tableau, Wedd updates the willow pattern to comment on contemporary life and identity.
Amongst many accolades over his career, including winning the Shepparton Art Museum Ceramic Award in 1999, Wedd was a JamFactory Icon in 2016 and exhibited a large body of work in the solo exhibition Kitschen Man (currently touring nationally). He also has a comprehensive monograph, Thong Cycle published through Wakefield Press.
Further reading on Wedd's biography available here.