I am a passionate teacher, ceramicist and basket maker, specialising in community arts. Actually I have always been a maker of things - from a family of makers. My big plan was to get a car and take off around Australia but I had a serious car accident so I decided to start art school with a major in ceramics.
I have 40 years experience in pottery graduating from the Canberra School of Art with a BA Visual Art in the mid 1980s. I launched straight into clay with an arts residency at the Meat Market Craft Centre Melbourne, taught pottery in isolated Aboriginal communities throughout Australia and painted a 2000 ceramic tile planetary mural at Giralang Primary School Canberra.
I was keen to establish my own studio so moved to the south coast with Daniel my partner and Bandicoot Pottery was born. We worked together in partnership for many years - Daniel throwing pots and I was the decorator. We settled into life on the coast while building a mud-brick house and having kids. My parents continued to encourage me to complete a Graduate Diploma of Teaching which would provide a stable income so I did!
An active member of Spiral Gallery Arts Cooperative and Lazy Lizard Gallery, I create simple geometric patterned wares for their exhibitions. My works are inspired by my travels to cultures around the world such as Australia, New Zealand, Africa, USA and Asia.
I create strong baskets from recycled materials, as it helps conserve and reduce waste of important raw materials
such as cable, wire, and fruit and vegetable bags to produce natural shapes. The creation of decorative elements is a component of my storytelling process, where I sew together layers of colours and materials to construct a visual narrative.
I believe functional pottery should bring beauty to your everyday rituals, be a pleasure to use and the hope of sharing meals with loved ones. Relationships, connections, imagery, and my dialogue between the past and present are the foundation of my my work.
I make simple moulded and hand built forms from earthenware clay as a blank canvas for my brightly coloured funky designs. I enjoy the playful nature of hand-building - making organic forms to decorate. My creative process enables me to produce forms that are folky, are made to be decorated and enjoyable to hold. As my patterns progress, I think about how the surface could resemble a piece of fabric. Through the repetition of floral patterns and mark making with underglaze application, my process enables me to move between different ceramic techniques.
Experimental decorative techniques are part of a flourishing narrative process for me. I love to peacefully decorate while I process the past and create the future. My inspiration comes from making vibrant geometric and floral messages. Plain and intricate colourful motifs and patterns are printed and painted. I create dense and delicate sections in my bowls, striving to make the patterns resemble fabric or strolling through an enchanting garden. I produce distinctive surface textures on terracotta, white base or coloured layers, sgraffito technique, and printing.
I studied Diploma of Community Welfare and made sure my employment included community arts projects and events such as People of the Sun Internship Malawi Africa, SE Arts Arts Health project, Painted Poles Cobargo and tutoring youth arts DisARTster recovery project.
Our studio has been rebuilt after its lost in the 2019 Black Summer Bushfires in Cobargo. In our new space I am offering creative inspiration to children and adults through pottery classes and basketry workshops.
My works can be found at Black Daisy Trading Pambula, Spiral Gallery Bega, Lazy Lizard Cobargo and Belconnen Arts Centre Canberra.
G Powell 2023