Current Exhibition

Be Bold
Ceramics Exhibition
9-24th October 

A collection of ceramicists from
Northern Beaches Ceramics

Virtual Opening 9th October
Virtual opening event live on Instagram
Saturday 9th October at 4pm


Topic: Be Bold Ceramic Artist Talk
Time: Oct 13, 2021 06:00 PMCanberra, Melbourne, Sydney

Join Zoom Meeting

Artist Bios

Kara Pryor

I’m a full time Ceramicist.  I teach ceramics to adults and children at Art Est. Art School where I have been for 4 years.  It is the perfect job!  I have been a ceramicist for over 25 years and I am well-known for my quirky animated animals, mythical creatures, and the extreme detail on my out-of-this-world teapots.  More recently I have been experimenting with big bird and dog sculptures, as well as porcelain flowers and painting budgies onto plates and mugs.  I like to do a whole lot of different things.

The world of fantasy has captured my imagination since I was old enough to hold a pencil.  I used to fill art books with drawings of fairies, unicorns & strange yet beautiful worlds.  

Ceramics is a lifestyle for me.  Everything that surrounds and excites me is automatically processed and transformed into the final result.  The essence of my work will always be fun, colour & perfection and always a reflection of myself.

 Kara’s work has been in many galleries for sale and exhibition such as Kerrie Lowe, Breathing Colours, Art Est. Art School, NSW Craft, Manly Art Gallery, Saint Cloche and Ewart Art Gallery. She also regularly exhibits at The Sydney Teapot Show and the Sydney Royal Easter Show, where her teapots have won prizes and have been bought by collectors. 

She obtained her Certificate for Advanced Diploma for Ceramics at Northern Beaches TAFE in 2015 majoring in hand building and creative teapots.

Mandie Robertson

I live on the Sydney Northern Beaches and been a ceramic artist and, more recently, a ceramic teacher. I have completed my Diploma and Advanced Diploma in Visual Arts (Ceramics) after being inspired by my mother Raku firing when I was a child and by the collaborative ceramic community.

I specialise mainly in hand building and create a range of sculptural and functional objects. The forms I create are inspired by ‘pebbles’, which I find meditative to create but also to view and hold, producing ‘quality in a simple form’.

I have always loved exploring beaches and riverbeds, filling my pockets with little stones and pebbles. I believe each one has a story to tell about its path through life. The different textures, shapes and colours of pebbles inspire my ceramic work.

Christopher James

I’m a full time Teacher of Ceramics at Northern Beaches TAFE however I’ve also been an active maker for 40 years since my teens.

The work that I create always involves learning in some way and this means that I gravitate toward technical challenges with each new direction. I find that if I am not moving forward and work becomes formulaic then I move to something new. In essence it’s the exploration and the inevitable challenges that tag along with that process that I enjoy. That said working with clay has similarities to the moods of the ocean. It’s different every single day, constantly moving, constantly shifting and I find this is just so engaging.

The works that I have created for ‘Be Bold’ showcase my love for the technical aspects of this field. I’ve formulated glazes that place matt surfaces alongside glossy flowing interior glazes. I’m hoping to capture the feel of stone and crystal side by side on simple meditative forms.

Debra Beggs

Right from my initial experience with clay, I felt an instant connection, which in my mind is an embodiment of Mother Earth. This perception tends to influence my work in the feminine forms that I always gravitate towards. 

In creating the pieces, I am currently working on I am taking into consideration the beautiful character of the clay and showcasing it. This in conjunction with the shapes brings an element of the nurturing Mother into my work. 

Cathy Allen

I grew up in a family who instilled in me my love of the outdoors & bushwalking, on the day of a walk Dad would always carry a map & a compass, I was shown how to understand the legend & navigate the walk by map.

Bushwalking with my family was always at a leisurely pace involving lots of stopping, identify a plant, looking at the view or something that caught your eye, lunch was always somewhere beautiful, by a stream or perched on a cliff. 

What I’m working on now reflects all these influences from my childhood, I feel like I’m observing from above, each piece is unique & spontaneous, colourful & abstract.

Jules Irving

When I first touched clay 8 yrs ago I felt at one with the sensation. For me, sculpture became a means of conveying emotion. I hand coil my forms using curves to entice the viewer to not only look, but also satisfy the human need for touch, which in turn leads to a real sense of connection and belonging.

I come from a nursing background and after 7 yrs of travel overseas and raising a family l looked at going back to Nursing but felt clay could be a great medium for Art Therapy, (mostly still doing my own) I love assisting a young lady in her clay journey, expressing her artistic skills and socialisation in a supportive community. I’d never been able to study art or history at school being the last of four adopted children my Dad hoped I’d go on to UNI and become a Doctor. I’ve recently met my mother and two half-sisters. Interestingly she’d been a Nurse. Caring is in the genes.

I hope in the future to run workshops for Women’s Refuges to help in healing their pain. I believe clay has this power. I spend hours burnishing my work at Brookvale but my alter ego goes to the Willoughby Arts Centre on Fridays where I work fast with BRT, slips and texture. 

What shines most at both places is the strong clay community. We support and encourage each other. I’m fortunate to also have my Dog Park community, great friends and unconditional love of our four-legged companion.

Roslyn Lowe

I was born in Gulgong surrounded by mountains of white clay. I don’t remember any Potters living in Gulgong when I was young. Gulgong was renowned for its beautiful white clay. 

I did not become a Potter myself, until much later. I moved to Sydney, married had children, became a Homeopath. 

I graduated from Brookvale Tafe in 2015 Advanced Diploma Fine Arts Ceramics. 

I specialise in Ash Glazes. Why Ash Glazes? My mother was an Historian, who wrote books on the history of Gulgong.
I wanted to make work that reflect my country roots. 

 I started looking at the history of ceramics in Australia. I found out that we didn’t have a history like England or Japan. Unconsciously I was drawn to Ash glazes to represent my roots. Ash was once a tree, having its roots in soil. For many years by father supplied my ash from his firebox. 

Being Homeopath I was also surprised at materials used in ash glazes were same materials used for healing in Homeopathy. (e.g. Calcium, Silica) 

It raises the possibilities of ceramics having healing force. Ash Glazes represents my roots and I’m exploring possibilities of Art to heal in my work through materials and colour. 

Cathy McMichael

My work is inspired by the natural environment surrounding me during our moment of stillness in 2020. Reflecting the colour, depth and flawless imperfections of nature, light and shadows. Looking beneath the curves of the landscape. 

These colours and patterns roll around in my memory, gather and are drawn out over the clay: wet clay is distributed, shaped & formed with my hand and fist directly onto the clay. This texture came from being blocked and not moving forward. Self-talk and just getting on with it, I just started to pound the clay and became interested in the pattens created, and the variation depending on my attitude of that day. 

 Creating strong hand built sculptural vessels with textured slab pieces and assembling into unique forms. Letting the clay direct me and fitting into places to create each individual work. The hints of colour under black and white slips and slipped fabric to decorate the surface. As a ceramicist, I believe in the beauty of handmade objects. Making pots is a conscious attempt at slowing down, connecting to something deeper, and taking time to appreciate the pleasure of making. Every vessel made is considered as an individual that belongs to a large family. Valuing the limitations of working with one material and with certainty of purpose, my aim is variation not consistency. This allows me to explore ideas of beauty and cultivate a sense of order. 

This new form is a result of a joining together of the basic elements of nature with hands, mind and courage.

Susannah Paterson

Susannah Paterson is a surrealist painter and potter living in Curl Curl on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. Since retiring from 30 years as a psychotherapist, she has worked full time as an artist, steadily building a tribe of collectors of both her unique paintings and beautiful pottery. 

Born and raised in the Scottish Highlands, Susannah migrated to Australia in 1995. In 2000, following the completion of a M.A.P.Sci in Critical Psych., she began to paint again for the first time since school. In 2005 she attended art college at Brookvale TAFE for two years whilst still working as a therapist. It was here she was introduced to ceramics and fell in love with clay as well as drawing, painting and sculpture. Following art school, she continued to learn from some of Australia’s leading artists, including several years under the tutelage of the late Kerrie Lester, who is a much-missed mentor. 

Psychotherapy and explorations into the unconscious mind through the practices of meditation and hypnosis are a major influence in her work, as well as her love of dogs and animals. The need to explore the surreal, unreal, and imagined the unconscious and unseen forces through colour and gesture is the primary motivation.

Elizabeth Cashmore

I started working in clay when I was in high school and very quickly found that I was hooked. The number of methods and ways to create and manipulate the clay is amazing. Some 40 years on I’m still engaged with the many possibilities that clay allows and always experimenting… always learning.  

My work reflects my interest, knowledge and love of ancient history utilising my experience with clay, glaze, form and imagination.

My work is reminiscent of a time gone by, and using  no glaze or dry glaze with the use of BRT clay or a combination of clays  enhances the rustic look of my work.

 My desire is to create pieces with a sense of time and purpose, these works being an exercise in both ancient history and clay  technique.

Clay texture, extruded coils or handmade coils dominate my work to heighten the theme of timeless pieces whilst adding an aura of rustic charm and mystery.  

Warren Hogden

These pieces are a response to a lifetime of fixing stuff, the damage, the mending and the recovery, all part of the journey. Woven in the work are references to Japanese Kintsugi celebrating imperfection, each pot with its cracks and scrapes tells a story of it’s history & experience. I use found objects and material, other than clay, a sort of collaboration with industrial makers which gives the bases a robustness which contrasts and creates tension with the file delicate clay vessels atop.

In a past life I was a panel beater, a very blokey environment and I never told anyone that I wanted to go to art school. When I got to art school I never dreamed I could find anything beautiful about tea cups so I was caught between two worlds, an accidental artist. I make my art now for the sheer joy of it and I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. I tinker with my vintage motorbikes, have an ever-expanding collection of old tools, I grow fruit and veges in my kitchen garden, which is good for the soul, as is my array of ceramics from friends and people I admire. 

Nina Matthewson

Most artists have a style, my style constantly changes. Curiosity and a hunger to always learn, grow and develop new skills takes me on wonderful journeys. I will spend weeks of playful joy, thoroughly absorbed in a new technique, a product of being an arts teacher for so many years.

My latest fascination is the process of Raku Firing, and my concept is “Passing Through”.  Reflecting the people who have been connected to our journey in life.

They were inspired by the passing through of my Mum last year and are called Passing through. They are all Raku Fired, which is:

Raku generally refers to a type of low-firing process that was inspired by traditional Japanese raku firing. Western-style raku usually involves removing pottery from the kiln while at bright red heat and placing it into containers with combustible materials. Once the materials ignite, the containers are closed. This produces an intense reduction atmosphere which affects the clay bodies. The drastic thermal shock also produces cracking—known as crackling since it is deliberate.   

Gemma Gale

Gemma Gale is primarily a ‘maker’. From childhood beginnings creating sculptures in mud, sewing her own clothes and painting shirts at art school, innately there has always been a need to make.

After completing her B.Ed. Art and teaching high school art in various locations, she started a small fashion label “Semi Precious Gems” and dressed the locals for near to a decade. Currently, after undertaking a Diploma of Ceramics at Northern Beaches TAFE, she works from her fully equipped home studio and joins other ceramicists two days a week in Open Studio sessions at Northern Beaches TAFE, immersed in the clay community and liaising with mentors and extensively practiced ceramicists.

At the core of her ceramic practice is a continued exploration of colour, technique, glaze mixing and fun, never taking herself too seriously and always looking for the joy and spontaneity in the making.

Sallie Portnoy

Sallie Portnoy is a prolific interdisciplinary artist working in glass, clay, metals, and mixed media. her background in ceramics informs her work in glass, which has earned recognition and representation internationally in private and permanent collections. Portnoy studied ceramics at university of Manitoba and NSCAD in Canada and graduated from Cofa (BA ceramics) and SCA, Sydney University (MSAglass). Portnoy has had numerous solo exhibitions and exhibits regularly in outdoor public art shows. She has been the recipient of several major awards and public art commissions both in the private sector and by various community councils. She teaches workshops in Australia, Canada, Turkey, and in U.S. at Corning Museum of Glass, Urban Glass NY and Pilchuck, Seattle. She lives, works and teaches on the northern beaches of Sydney, from her Gspot Glass studio.

 ’Girls on the Avenue’

These gals, engaged in conversation, express ideas of body language, well-being and connection. They have emerged from a time where we have just begun to heal from the recent drastic bushfires to then be isolated and distanced during COVID-19, when disconnection and isolation has escalated, yet many are also slowing and connecting with renewed intimacy. 

The glaze treatment references the bush fires with its charred surface breaking into a green symbolic of regeneration and regrowth. 

As ceramics has long used the human body as metaphor via terms like neck, shoulder, foot, lip, waist, and belly as such, the clay jug generates expressive language akin to body language. I am attempting to imbue these pieces with hope and connection, referencing the dialogue between artist and medium by allowing the clay to speak to me and influence form; as well as artist and viewer via organic sculptures that appeal to a shared emotion.

Heidi Steller

Clay has allowed me to follow my passion of sculptural and installation art to create my own sculptures. It is a tactile, seductive medium which can be shaped and molded to the heart’s desire. For thousands of years cultures have shaped clay to form not only functional vessels, but also effigies, sculptures and decorations. 

A fascination of tribal cultures and their rituals sparked the inspiration for my recent works, drawn from tribal adornments. Their use of bones, teeth, feathers, plants and clay provide an array of natural material to make these adornments and tools.

Hand forming techniques and processes provide the freedom most suitable for the forms and concepts that I am exploring. My works are hand built and textured with glazed and unglazed finishes. I enjoy the process and practicality of creating pieces and exploring different clay bodies and their natural fired and glazed finishes. 

Sol Contardo

Sol is a Sydney based ceramic artist. She has lived in several countries around the world, which have all influenced her in many different ways. 

Trained as a professional photographer and translator, she first started pottery 10 years ago and since then, she has attended different workshops around the world, influencing her decision to study a Diploma of Visual Arts in ceramics. During 2020, she was an Artist’s Residency at Gallery Lane Cove which culminated in a solo exhibition based on the incredible story of the Selkna’m People with her show “Te Hoseke’n Harw”.  She also teaches ceramics to adults and children at Gallery Lane Cove Creative Studios.

“My work is inspired by everyday life as well as by my personal experiences. I have lived in so many places which have all influenced. Seeing the world and my experience living in all these places has shaped me and shaped my creativity and my work which is everchanging”

Wall Art by Mayumi Ross – In the gallery for a limited time.

Mayumi Ross

Magnificent Macrame

I was still a teenager when I saw macrame for the first time. My mother had a friend who owned a mop factory and each month cotton ropes were delivered to our house. My mother used them to create artwork, one of which was macrame. I learnt how to make it as I watched her knot each rope. The simplicity of using just rope to create something ultimately beautiful still amazes me to this day. The beauty of macrame comes from the time and various techniques that create intricate patterns and textures which are unique to each piece.

This collection is based on the patterns, textures and rhythms in the elements of nature.

EL MAR – Ocean #1
Macrame is similar to the ocean, in which every wave is similar but never the same. They both have rhythms in which we can lose ourselves. This piece explores the constant motion of the ocean.

This piece is inspired by the super moon which lit up the night sky in April. It captures the atmosphere of the moon reflecting in the ocean.

 HARU – Spring
The foundation of this piece is the delicate spring bloom. A true gift from nature.

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