Tessy King · Sun Room

It’s ‘strangeness’ and ‘messiness’ over conventional beauty ideals for Melbourne-based maker Tessy King.

Today we revisit the studio of the now-graduated ceramicist to preview her latest creations, which feature in her exhibition Sun Room, on until May 27th at Craft Victoria in Melbourne.

Elle Murrell

‘There is a hard transitional period following on from being inside an institution like RMIT,’ says Tessy. ‘Figuring out how to logistically make work, how to afford all of the materials and studio costs and how to find art/life/regular job balance has been the biggest challenge.’ Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files.

Using white stoneware clays, terracotta or paperclay, Tessy sprays or paints a mixture of glazes in a combination of lustres onto her ceramics. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files.

Melbourne-based ceramicist, Tessy King. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files.

Experimental ceramics from Melbourne-based ceramicist Tessy King. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files.

Tessy completed her Honours in Fine Art last year, and she reflects that this period of research as showed her the importance of mixing theory and practice. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files.

Tessy applies details to ceramics in her home studio. These works are now on exhibit at Craft Victoria in Melbourne. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files.

Elle Murrell
23rd of May 2017

Tessy King‘s latest ceramics have seen her take up a self-directed challenge to push scale, and the possibilities of raw materials. The young maker’s wonderfully unusual ceramic vessels are about ‘finding balance in terms of strangeness’. As she  describes: ‘They aren’t particularly good-looking pots, but I’m interested in how these strange objects fit into beautiful spaces.’

The pieces make a resounding statement for the joys of ‘messiness’, showcasing Tessy’s preference for loose, almost unfinished forms. Using white stoneware clays, terracotta or paperclay, Tessy either sprays or paints on a mixture of glazes in a combination of lustres, which requires triple firing. ‘I like the idea of grotesquely decorated, ornate, messy spaces, and I think this sometimes comes through in the work,’ she adds.

Finding ceramics by way of jewellery and silversmithing, Tessy completed her Honours exegesis, Bedroom 2 last year. ‘A lot of my research looked at philosophical ideas around space and how identity, objects and space are linked,’ she explains.

The young maker found that these studies really challenged her creative approach, and have lead her in a new direction. ‘I started thinking more about why I make things and questioning whether my contribution to the world in the form of things is actually valuable,’ Tessy reflects. Practically speaking, moving outside the RMIT studio, where she had access to wonderful equipment and materials, has also proven a little tricky. Though, this hard transition has ushered in a period of intense growth.

Previously Tessy created more sculptural and slab built forms (as featured in our earlier post). This collection, however, employs a combination of coiling and ‘just squishing (technical term!)’ clay together. ‘These pots are very specific to last year, and now this year; I’m not sure what will happen later,’ she tells. ‘I’m way less precious now!’ – We’re eager to see what comes next!

Tessy King is currently exhibiting Sun Room at Craft Victoria in Melbourne. Her pieces are also available at Guild of Objects and Mr Kitly

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