A tension between the decorative and the functional dwells at the core of Nicolette Johnson’s design practice. The ceramic artist has closely documented the evolution of her vessels over the past few years, experimenting with iterations of previous outcomes in seeking to exaggerate form and silhouette. A mere glance at one of Johnson’s Dark Tower (2019) or Messenger (2019) vessels reveals a striking aesthetic embodying all the intrigue of gothic grandeur.
“The pots are intricately embellished to the point where they become almost unusable. Some of the vessels have very small openings that fold back in on themselves – like a vortex – making it almost impossible to pour water from them. In my newest work, the vessel is completely enclosed, trapping the void within,” she reflects.
Johnson’s inspiration sources vary from ancient pottery forms to the mystical patterns found in the natural world, helping her perceive the importance of negotiating chaos and order in each of her creations. This notion lends her vessels the same aura of mystique as artefacts from bygone civilisations.
“Themes I reference in my current work include symmetry in nature and the repeating patterns that can be found in organic materials like plants, seed pods, scales and feathers. These natural geometries can all be understood through the Fibonacci sequence and the Golden Ratio. Similarly, the clay that I have used to make these works has formed over long periods of time – chaos – and has been mined, packaged, and finally sculpted into shapes I desire them to be – order,” she notes.
Reflecting on the significance of clay as a vehicle for deeply personal expression, Johnson appreciates that there are few .. Subscribe to read this article in full
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