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  • Avi Amesbury

Artist and traveller

Updated: Jan 18, 2020

I'm intrigued by the natural environment. Growing up on the edge of the dessert in Western Australia my childhood was filled with experiences of the landscape- hot, dry, immense summer thunder and lightning storms, a horizon that went on forever, the endless stars, freezing cold in winter. This love of nature has never left me and and it seems so natural for my ceramics practice to draw inspiration from these experiences.

As we know the process of collecting is a strong human impulse- a way of capturing or holding the essence of a place or landscape that impacts our lives. Over the years, I've collected clays, sand, wood-ash, volcanic rock ash, pumice and seaweed from specific sites that generate history, stories, and religious and spiritual narratives. These materials are incorporated into my porcelain structures- such as enclosed cubes, open vessels, sculptural forms- in order to capture the colours, beauty and essence of our landscape.

During my study years I was awarded a scholarship through the Australian National Universtiy to undertake four months study at Hong-Ik University in Seoul. My experiences in South Korea influenced my practice in two ways. It was there I first became immersed in a ceramic tradition that went back thousands of years – Australia has no ceramic tradition. And I was introduced to their technique of stamping. This experience of thousands of years of past traditions deepened my feelings for the Australian landscape and offered insights, or glimpses of understanding, into our First Nations peoples as custodians of the land. I still use a stamping technique in my work today.

In late 2017 I successfully attained an Artist-in-Residence at the Benyamini Contemporary Ceramics Centre in Tel Aviv, Israel. It was amazing- I spent days exploring ancient sites, towns and landscapes from the Northern borders of Lebanon and Syria, from the Golan Heights to the Sea of Galilea – and down to the Negev Dessert in the south. The aim of the residency was to explore Israel as an ancient land, and make work for a planned solo exhibition in Australia at Sturt Gallery.

Over the years I have lived in many difference places, and each landscape has offered me a wondrous opportunity to get to know the world in which I live- the colours of the desert, the unique light of Canberra, the sentient trees of the Far South Coast, the changing moods and colours of the ocean.

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