Valerie Restarick studied art at The National Gallery School in the 1960’s, under famed Australian Artist John Brack, who was head of painting at the time. After her studies, she left Australia to teach art in London, and whilst there, attended night school to study pottery. ‘ I quickly became addicted’ she recalls. Since then, Valerie has worked in many different pottery studios, but her major career-changing moment came fourteen years ago, when she designed her current purpose-built home / studio with architect Jude Doyle. ‘I wanted to live, work and sell my pottery here’ explains Valerie. ‘The studio has become part of my identity’.
Indeed, Valerie’s sweet little studio and store on Fenwick street in North Carlton is a hive of activity, and has become central to Valerie’s practice. She lives upstairs, and downstairs she creates her own beautiful vessels, conducts various classes and workshops, and sells her wares. It’s a modest little place, but it suits Valerie perfectly, and enables her to be fully immersed in her passion, 24/7.
‘My work is meditative and elemental’ says Valerie. ‘Pottery connects the important elements, earth, fire and water. It is intrinsic to my sense of well-being, and my connection to the real world, as opposed to the virtual through electronic media which prevails in our everyday life’.
Influenced by referred potters such as Edmund de Waal, Takeshi Yasuda and Sandy Lockwood, Valerie’s work is Minimalist and restrained. At times she says, her work is also informed by political events. ‘I’m very passionate about the injustices in the world, especially the environment’ Valerie explains. ‘Pottery connects me to these passions’. She is also passionate about the current plight of refugees. ‘I have made a refugee image in clay, which I’ve entered into the Blake Prize for Peace and Justice’ she says.
Valerie loves to see her vessels being used and well loved. ‘I love to see my pots being used, Sean McConnell is using them at the prize-winning Hotel Hotel in Canberra’ says Valerie. ‘Paul Hecker of Hecker Guthrie is also a great supporter and uses my pots in photo shoots and in his interior designs. My favourite local restaurant Pinotta is also using my fish platters’.
Valerie takes ceramics classes on Saturdays, and by private appointment during the week. Email directly for more info!
North Carlton Ceramics
87 Fenwick St
North Carlton, VIC