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Q&A: Georgina Elms

For 50 years, throwing and turning clay has been a form of meditation for local potter Georgina Elms. After having four children, Georgina came to clay with the hope of discovering a quiet hobby, yet unlocked a passion that would soon evolve into a profession. Leaving behind a career in science in the 1970s, Georgina set about producing functional stoneware pots professionally from then on. She turned to mastering her skills and
was commissioned to create the official gifts for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and the Heads of State for Expo 88 in Brisbane, exhibited her work across the globe and continues to pot today. Her work Kimberly Impressions is featured in Commune and stands as a testament to a long-held love of clay.

We caught up with Georgina for a Q&A to learn more about her contribution to Commune. 

While you learned to pot in an era where neutral colours were the go-to, your ceramics are beautifully bold. What inspired you to explore a more decorative approach?

I have always been influenced by the Australian landscape and the amazing shapes and brilliant colours of our native flora. I have also sourced inspiration from my travels across the world.

Travelling with a Churchill Fellowship in 1988, I was amazed by the 16th and 17th century Iznik ceramics on display at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London with their brilliantly coloured floral designs of the Ottoman period.

Exposure to Old Imari and Nabeshima ware whilst exhibiting in Kitakyushu in Japan and firsthand observations of Jingdezheng porcelain in the Shanghai Museum in China, inspired continued refinement of form and decorative technique.

You’ve travelled overseas quite extensively, though your piece in Commune connects to a memory closer to home. Can you tell us what inspired Kimberley Impressions?

In 2006, I was travelling in the Kimberley National Park and experienced its geological magnificence. The most incredible forms and colours of sandstone escarpments, ochre chasms and ancient rock art. The bark of the eucalypts was stunning too, changing with the seasons.

My work continues to explore the theme of nature. Though, I now hand build with the Nerikomi technique using coloured Southern Ice porcelain which enabled me to capture the brilliant Kimberley colours. This is in combination with matt black porcelain to represent the aftermath of bushfires.

I continue to work in my private studio surrounded by our quiet lush garden which is a constant source of peace, pleasure and inspiration.

Georgina ElmsKimberley Impressions 2023. Photo: MoB. Courtesy the artist.

See the work of hundreds of Brisbane’s ceramic artists by visiting Commune before it closes 22 October 2023.


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