Friday, 10 October 2014

Materials and Techniques: DeeDeeDeesigns

I'm a big fan of the handmade world and I love finding out about the different ways in which artists create. Each fortnight, I chat with a different designer about how their products come about. Today I am talking to Dawn from Ballarat in Victoria, Australia. She is a practicing artist working in ceramics who has the online store DeeDeeDeesigns

Please tell us a little about yourself.

I have been a practicing artist for about twenty years and also teach in my studio, community centres, schools and anywhere that wants me! I have travelled overseas on artist residencies and to exhibit, and have also exhibited widely in Australia. I also enjoy writing about art and have had a few articles published here and there. I am new to Madeit, though I joined a while ago, I only started the store a few months ago. The work I have listed in the store is mainly functional domestic ware, as most of my artwork would be too big and heavy to list in terms of postage costs. Having said that people can place a custom order via my shop for a sculptural or art piece and have the cost of the art absorb the postage.

What materials and techniques do you like to use?

The materials I use in my Madeit store at this stage are only clay - mostly wheelthrown, though there are a few hand built pieces listed. Within my wider art practice I use almost everything and anything. A lot of my sculpture is mixed media - I love scrounging for rusty found objects and combining them with the organic qualities of clay.

What challenges have you faced in the creative process?

Challenges can range from anything from physical to financial! It was a physical challenge, for example, that initiated me into making ceramic jewellery. I chopped off my finger a couple of years ago while preparing work for a pit firing (firing ceramics in the ground) and couldn't make any large work for a long time, so began making beads and pendants and various small trinkets. And of course financially it is always difficult being an artist, especially if you don't want to work in a conventional job at the same time - which I don't as I find you then have no energy for art. So I do a lot of teaching and workshops to supplement that side of the equation.

What drives you to create?

Most of my artwork is inspired by natural textures, colours and shapes - I live in a regional part of Australia, so finding this inspiration is easy. In term of getting started.... that is not too much of an issue for me because, as mentioned earlier, I don't work outside of my arts practice, so there is nothing else distracting me or filling my head except my art practice.

What is coming up next?

A little while ago I wrote a book titled Pit Firing Ceramics: Modern Methods, Ancient Techniques. The book has officially launched in July in Australia in the town where I live at the Gallery of Ballarat. It was being accompanied by an exhibition of pit fired works by a range of international artists. After that I was involved in a group exhibition in August and a solo show in September - both local to where I live. Apart from that I'll just keep making stuff!!

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Don't you just love finding out about how artists create? Find out more through the archive of materials and techniques interviews. If you'd like to contribute your story, leave a comment. 

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