Ceramic artist Sami Porter recently opened her first solo exhibition at Gallery 1855.
Entitled in Flux, Sami’s exhibition is about the sheer wonder and delight of microscopic forms, that have evolved into art works.
Sami has combined ceramics and natural-found objects into contemporary sculptural works, expressing a dialogue of interconnection, appreciation and imagination between our existence and that found in the hidden and microbiological aspects of nature.
She says ‘My rapture has become the alchemy of the crystalline glaze; It is a glaze that grows visible crystal structures under precise kiln conditions. I embrace it in my work to emphasise notions of organic process and growth; creating a tiny world of wonder all of its own.’
Your new exhibition, inFLUX, is described as a micro-voyeuristic journey of nature in process. Tell us more! I am captivated with the micro-world, as it offers us the comprehension that life transpires all around us; often existing unnoticed. I incorporate natural found-objects into my contemporary sculpture works, to express a dialogue of interconnectedness, recognition and imagination between our existence and that found in the hidden and microbiological aspects of nature.
Why did you create these works?
After my Honours degree, I wanted to continue the research and work I had begun with microscopic and unnoticed entities. My inspiration and concepts were infinite!
What do you hope people see?
I hope the response to my work will be a personal journey of curiosity, and would attract anyone with an interest in contemporary ceramic sculpture, art, science, nature and the surreal.
I believe my practice offers an innovative context of organic hybridization and biological fantasy, delivered through sculptural works made from the Earth.
There is a variety of artwork in your show. Can you share a bit about how you made them?
As I am inspired by nature, my works often start with drawings and design. Most of the works in this exhibition are porcelain and are wheel-thrown, hand and slab built, and slip-cast.
My key passion and technique with ceramics has become the use of the crystalline glaze. This glaze grows visible crystal structures and I have been employing it to express notions of organic process and growth.
Where does the need to make art come from for you?
Biophilia (the love of living things) has been the core motivation for my art practice. Making art is my homage to Earth, and fills my need to make interesting and beautiful objects.
What’s the next thing you’re working on?
After a short break, I will return to making porcelain with crystalline sculptures, looking at larger forms with a microscopic, botanical and fantastical influence.
I am always researching and concocting my new crystalline glaze recipes!
Artist Angela Walford is well-known throughout the South Australian art world for her beautiful homemade ceramic pieces. Many will know her from the monthly Stirling Markets, where her gorgeous stall and big smile greet hundreds of customers coming to pore over her ceramic and pottery wares.
Angela is a regular exhibitor with Adelaide art galleries, including The Urban Cow Studio, ‘The Terrace’ in Eastwood, Murray Bridge Regional Gallery, our very own Gallery 1855, and until recently she was based at the Tea Tree Studio in Golden Grove.
This year Angela was appointed a tenant at Adelaide’s JamFactory, which supports the careers of talented South Australian artists, craftspeople and designers. Angela is currently working from the JamFactory’s Seppeltsfield base in the Barossa Valley.
We caught up with her to congratulate her and ask her a bit more about the new gig.
Congratulations on your selection as the Jam Factory’s ceramics resident at the Seppetsfield Barossa site! Can you tell us how this came about?
Cheers. I was invited by The City’s Jam Factory Ceramics Creative director Damon Moon to consider the studio and a possible move to the Barossa and after seeing the studio, it was a fairly quick but considered yes!
Now that you’re based in the Barossa Valley, what opportunities and advantages do you have for the work you do?
I think the Seppeltsfield setting presents a very unique opportunity. The space is rather large and I look forward to establishing my workspace and running many workshops here, including Raku, handmade and surface decoration.
What are your Seppetsfield digs like? Describe the views you have!
My space is part of the original barn, it is a heritage space and I even have an old horse tying bracket on the wall outside (whatever that thing is called!!). The space has very high ceilings and exposed beam work, complete with rustic cracks and stained walls!
What kind of ceramic works do you like to create?
My work is varied and is quite often led by the seasons. One of my faves is an oriental glaze called Shino, which I use to make stoneware fired tableware, teapots and all kinds of food presentation wares. I make decorative wall tiles and mid-fired slip decorated wares from our local terracotta clay. In the summer I make a series of white wares – ‘lil birdie’ is a favourite – and more coloured, brightly glazed and underglazed functional wares.
How long have you been a practising ceramic artist? What initially drew you into this type of artwork and what keeps you going?
I was drawn to ceramics in my very first year of uni and spent all of my free time in the ceramics studio – so much so that my lecturer invited me to switch streams (I was studying Fine Art at the time).
I did switch to Design but went to the Graphics studio with a future business in mind. I returned to ceramic studies at the North Adelaide School of Art, which moved to Light Square and finished my studies there. I don’t think I will ever tire of clay, its plastic nature provides a huge array of possibilities, along with the alchemy fascination.
I think there will never be enough time to make what I want to make!
You say you are inspired by the seasons. How does this affect your works in winter vs. your works in summer? Autumn vs spring?
Yes certainly. Because a lot of my work is food driven, in winter I’m drawn to make all kinds of baking and serving wares according to what you might want to cook – say curries and soup in rustic shino bowls or tagines for slow cooking.
What are you currently working on?
I just completed a round of stoneware Shino noodle bowls and dip bowls and this week I am starting on the White series and getting back into the summer range.. And as always I’m working on a few things at once!
Can you tell us something people don’t know about working with ceramics or something a bit surprising about it?
I think that clay has the imposed character of the maker, I look at the handmade wares on my kitchen shelves and I can tell you something about the personality of the maker. The handmade object brings so much more than functionality to the daily experience. It brings warmth and humanity to breakfast or dinner, it bring stories of friendships and connection. I think that is the thing with handmade, with the slow food movement too, we are realising the importance of place and ecology and how we all connect.
What’s the best thing about doing what you do and what would be your dream project/creation?
Well, of course I think I have the best job in the world and am so happy that I can do it and that I love what I do. I can get my day’s work done and have chats and a cuppa with my studio pals! Nothing better than watching other people make either!
Ooh dream project – more collaborations around the very things I love, handmade in clay, food and celebrating with friends and family… even something on a larger scale… I’ve just sent off work to The Cup Collaboration in Melbourne and am very much looking forward to seeing the show. Such a great idea by my friend Adriana Christianson to bring people together across the globe to make the cup in partnership – the vessel that we all enjoy.
Related Links – Check out Angela’s work at the Cup Collaboration this October: