Sarah Hudson is an award-winning, Melbourne ceramic artist. A detailed and delicate finish to her creations – which include jewellery and tableware – has won numerous awards and recognition both locally and internationally. Off the back of her first solo exhibition in Melbourne this month, we caught up with the artist to discover where she finds her inspiration to promote harmony and beauty in her ceramic designs.
Tell us about your background. What path led you to ceramic design?
I’ve always worked in a design environment, such as graphics, communications and industrial and product design. The experience gained from this and working with amazing creatives in these fields has formed a strong influence on all aspects of my practice.
When I chose ceramics as an elective course in the first year of my Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, I hoped to learn techniques that would complement my metals and jewellery major. By the end of the year I was combining techniques learned from both disciplines.
Where do you turn to for inspiration?
I tend to re-visit my visual diaries – of which I have many! Over the years I’ve sketched and researched a myriad of concepts I like to turn to for inspiration. My studio is also a treasure trove of curious pieces that capture my attention for one reason or another – whether it’s colour, texture, pattern, words or interesting objects I’ve collected.
What does a typical day at work involve for you?
My day is always varied and full – which I love. I make, design, source, research and, when firing, my day often extends into the night!
Your ‘Bamboo Sake Set’ won a prize at the 2010 Itami International Craft Exhibition. What was this like? Why do you think you were chosen as the winner? Describe the winning piece and what inspired it.
This International craft exhibition receives hundreds of entries from around the world, so to receive The Itami Prize among lots of amazing works is an honour. My design was a response to the judges brief to create a Sake Set that would bring friends together to enjoy the drink. My inspiration to use a bamboo theme with ‘clusters’ of bamboo poles suggested this connection and fellowship.
The materials, bamboo and porcelain, were carefully selected and hand finished resulting in a harmonious and calm environment. The set is appealing if only a few cups are used and, as friends gather, new bamboo vessels can be added to share the joy of drinking Sake, too.
Your jewellery collection, ‘Beauty, a quiet conversation’, also won an award at Itami International Craft Exhibition. Describe this collection and what inspired it.
Each year the Itami Craft Exhibition alternates between the themes Sake – Itami being the birthplace of Sake – and Jewellery. This necklace series is a collaborative design with fellow Melbourne artist, Pennie Elliott. Pennie and I studied alongside one another in ceramics and jewellery at Monash University.
The necklaces combine handmade porcelain and precious metal beads. The subtle design reflects on the repeated process of making over time. It features unique, irregular pieces that join together without interruption in a state of harmony.
You showcased your works at Potier Gallery in May. For those who didn’t attend, what were visitors privy to?
The exhibition was a quiet reflection on the beauty of porcelain, inviting the viewer closer to contemplate on the detailed and delicate work before them. The exhibition launched new designs including delicate and thin-layered tableware, new bamboo-themed vessels and necklaces.
I also launched an installation of hundreds and hundreds of translucent porcelain petals. Many hours of work, but worth every minute to see my idea fully realised!
What is your favourite piece/collection you have designed and why?
I can’t say I have a favourite as each individual artwork or coloured bead is intriguing. I’m fascinated with combining pigment and porcelain as its not until the final firing is complete that I can see the subtle or intense colouring I’ve achieved.
Which artists/designers do you admire?
A mix of local and international artists I love: Vera Siemund, Ted Muehling, Lucy Sarneel, Nga Waiata, Letitia Buchan and Sarah Dingwall.
What’s next for Sarah Hudson?
With the Potier Gallery exhibition finished, I’m looking forward to taking a step back and reflecting. Having said that, there’s always a mix of different opportunities and awards to develop ideas and designs for. This year I was awarded an Australia Council ArtStart grant and I’m currently setting up my studio which is very exciting!