Kingston, Surrey, Great Britain born 1930
2000 Description: Bowl
Place made: Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
Materials & Technique: ceramics, carved 'Southern Ice' porcelain
Les Blakebrough is one of Australia’s most experienced ceramic artists and brings to this work a distillation of a number of themes that have characterised his work over the past 50 years. Developing and using his own porcelain clay has encouraged him to explore its particular qualities of translucency and crystalline whiteness.1 This bowl’s raised relief decoration has been achieved by masking areas of the unfired clay surface with shellac before sponging away the background to a thinness that, when fired, will allow the passage of light. The resulting effect has the subtlety of a watermark and a sense of transience and luminosity that one might expect from a coating of frost or ice on foliage or rocks. While visually reductive, Blakebrough’s forms are strong and grounded in a precise and generous functionality, reflecting his finely-honed design sensibility and a celebration of the science of craft.
1 With five Australian Research Council grants since 1991, Blakebrough has undertaken research into Tasmanian porcelain, flexible kiln design, porcelain clay development, and industrial processes for craft-based industry.
Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra