You have entered the world of ceramics after completing a degree in Interior design. What prompted you to pursue a career in art?
I've always been very creative and hands-on. Falling into ceramics was surreal but also felt quite intuitive looking back. During my degree, I aimed to continue my efforts in furniture and lighting design; however, I struggled to find work as I graduated right before COVID. The lockdown was sort of a blessing in disguise, as at the time, I was only dabbling in ceramics as a hobby. My business grew from there into what it is today, mixing my degree with my craft with a focus on sculptural interior pieces.
Your portfolio explores various forms, including sculptures, vessels, furniture and everyday objects. What fuels your creativity and drives you to explore?
Having a background in interior really puts the design process at the forefront. The method of exploration and experimentation is completely embedded in any project.
Even though I haven't completed a degree in ceramics, I bring so much of what I've learnt in Interior Design into my everyday practice. I believe this is why I'm constantly exploring and don't think I would have pushed my craft as much as I have without it. Ceramics has endless possibilities. There are infinite clay bodies, glazes and techniques that continuously inspire me to create something new.
Who are your works intended for? How do you imagine a home of a person where your pieces will reside?
Even though I have a cohesive style, I still like to create pieces with an intention for a broad audience - would it be a neutral piece for the coffee table or a bold artwork for the wall. I achieve this primarily through colour, but I believe that often the shapes speak louder volumes.
I always intend to create bespoke works, no matter how small or big, whether for current art lovers or people wanting to add a touch of art to their every day. I want my pieces to have a place in people's homes and hopefully last a lifetime.
Do you have any philosophies attached to your craft? How important do you see the act of creating handmade wares in the current environment?
I've always tried to support and shop locally; however, it wasn't until starting this career that I truly realised how much impact shopping local has on just one individual. Starting my business during COVID and pushing my ceramics over the past 2 years hasn't been easy, but every single order has allowed me to continue growing and facilitating the business.
Which materials fascinate you the most except for clay? Are there any you have not worked with but would like to try?
I think I've always known that I'd like to explore other materials one day. I'd love to eventually introduce mediums that harmonise with ceramics or help hero clay even further.
We explored timber during a furniture semester at University, and since then, I've always been interested in exploring it further. I believe timber and ceramic would play well together with furniture pieces or wall sculptures.
I've also always been super fascinated with plaster and marble. I'd love to learn to sculpt larger forms without worrying about a kiln's size constraints. But in the meantime, my focus is predominantly clay. I'm still very early in my career and have much more to explore and learn. I've only really dabbled in the ceramics world when you look at it as a whole.
If you could spend 30 minutes with an artist, who would it be and why?
A very hard question. I would love to choose someone I could realistically relate to on a personal level, but I would have to say Daniel Arsham.
I've been a fan of his work since being opened up to the art world some years ago. Not only do his various forms of art speak volumes, but it merges into the architectural world, constantly pushing boundaries. Over his 10+ year career, he's explored various mediums, creating contemporary works but also tributing ancient relics.
I think that as an artist, it's very important to study past design, which is precisely what Arsham does. He's also very good at being humble and looking back at where he started. I often get impatient and doubtful, but when I hear from a very successful artist that it took him 10+ years of dedication to get where he's at now, it keeps me on track.
What direction do you hope to take your practice over the next few years?
When I picture my business in 5 years, I hope to be in my own commercial studio with a small team. I've got a long way to go.
My main focus over the next few years is to strengthen my foundations and just keep pushing. Keep exploring myself as an artist.
A commercial studio isn't cheap, so I'm currently pushing to create more of a turnover, to be able to sustain having a studio for the future. It's tough with the small space I have now and maintaining production being a one-woman show. However, I know that's the next step for me. Whether I set that up here in Brisbane or somewhere else! Who knows! The future is exhilarating.
Collection of exlusive to Perth artworks by Jess Sellinger will be launching in August 2022. Register your interest here.