Susan Frost Ceramics

Lucy Feagins
Lucy Feagins
9th of May 2013
Handcrafted ceramics by Adelaide based Susan Frost.   Photos by Grant Hancock.
Handcrafted ceramics by Adelaide based Susan Frost.   Photos by Grant Hancock.
Handcrafted ceramics by Adelaide based Susan Frost.   Photos by Grant Hancock.
Oh my goodness. Have I been living under a rock!? How did I not know about South Australian ceramicist Susan Frost before now!?  Her work is exquisite! As outlined below, Susan originally worked in a variety of jobs including retail buying and administration, before taking up ceramics whilst spending time living in the UK with her husband.  It seems many talented ceramicists seem to discover their craft later in life!  (This reminds me of Bruce Rowe / Anchor Ceramics who we featured recently). Though she had previously taken a variety of creative classes, there was something about clay which really resonated with Susan. After moving back to Australia in 2006 she was keen to pursue ceramics, and in 2009 was accepted into the JamFactory Associate Program, allowing her to focus on her practice full-time. The result is a stunning collection of functional vessels, characterised by Scandi-inspired clean lines, and a beautiful, muted palette of 13 coloured glazes. Susan has an exhibition on currently at Council of Objects in Adelaide called (re)Collected Hues.  It's on now until 25th May.  She is also involved in group exhibition currently on until 20th May called 365 Cups: A Cup a Day at Worth Gallery in Adelaide. Susan works from her studio space at the JamFactory in Adelaide.  Her vessels can be found at stockists including JamFactoryPotier, and Made By Others. She also has an online shop, and is happy to receive sales enquiries / take orders via email. We asked Susan a few questions about her work and her process.  Here is what she had to say! -
Tell us a little bit about your background – what did you study, did you always want to be a ceramicist and what led you to what you're doing now?
I actually started my career in retail, becoming a buyer for a department store in my early twenties. Travel beckoned and I ended up living in the UK with my husband for eight years. During this time I was doing various admin and temping jobs. I took a year off and studied Art History in London. We moved to Bristol and it was here I began ceramics when I enrolled in some night classes. Throughout my life I had always taken various creative classes (painting, drawing, even millinery at one stage) but there was something about the tactile nature of clay that drew me in. When we moved back to Australia in 2006 I knew I wanted to pursue ceramics further. I took more classes, and in 2009 was accepted into the JamFactory Associate Program. From that point I was involved with ceramics full-time. It was at JamFactory where I started to develop my work and my style.
How would you describe your work / aesthetic?
Clean and functional. Quiet. I look at Danish design a lot. I am currently really interested in colour relationships. I use 13 colours and it is fascinating to see how they can change depending on what I pair them with. For instance I have a pink that is quite warm when next to orange, but really bright when put with yellow or navy blue.
What processes are involved in the creation of your ceramics?
I work with porcelain clay which is thrown on a potter’s wheel. I throw on a batt – a piece of wood attached to the wheel head so when the piece is finished, I lift the batt off so I don’t touch or warp the work. Clay, particularly porcelain, has a memory – any bumps or twists, even if you correct them, can often come back during the firing process. After it is thrown and dry to a 'leather hard' state, I put the piece back on the wheel upside down and trim it. This takes off all the excess clay and it is here where I refine the profile and finish off the base. I then add handles to my cups and jugs by extruding long pieces of clay, hand shaping them and attaching. Once bone dry the work is bisque fired. This gets the work to a stable enough condition to be handled and glazed. Glazing is my big thing. I spend a lot of time glazing – up to a week depending on how much work I have! A common glazing method is to hold the piece with tongs and dip it in the glaze but that produces drips and runs on the work. As my glaze contains colour stains all of these drips show up so I have to glaze the inside and outside separately. I mask the outside and dip the piece to glaze the inside, holding it upside down until it is dry. I then clean up the outside, wait for it to dry and dip the outside by holding the piece from the inside. I dip it until the glaze comes right to the top of the piece, stopping just before it can run over the rim and inside the vessel. Once glazed, the work is loaded into an electric kiln and fired to 1280 degrees. After firing I then polish the base and (unglazed) rim with a diamond pad! (re)Collected Hues - by Susan Frost Council of Objects 248 Grenfell street East End, Adelaide On now until 25th May 2013.   Council of Objects are also hosting a special celebration this Saturday May 11th - 11.00am - 4.00pm.  Pop in for a cuppa, view Susan's exhibition and find the perfect gift for Mother's Day!
Handcrafted ceramics by  Susan Frost.   Photos by Grant Hancock.
Handcrafted ceramics by Susan Frost.   Photos by Grant Hancock.

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