This website uses cookies to improve your experience navigating our site. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

OK, I understand

Architectural Ceramics by Jane McKenzie

Studio Visit

Architect Le Corbusier argued that ‘architecture is the learned game, correct and magnificent, of forms assembled in the light.’ This influence of geometry, space, and order is evident in the work of Jane McKenzie, an NSW-based artist who has recently returned to the studio, after a 20-year career as an architect.

Our love of Jane’s work is well known (she was a favourite in the TDF 2017 Open House line-up!), and here she chats with us about her architectural training, returning to study, and the beauty she finds in a large slab of clay!

1st May, 2018

Ceramics by Jane McKenzie. Photo – Jacqui Turk.

A connection to the materiality of the clay is important to the ceramicist, and her slab roller is her favourite piece of equipment. Photo – Jacqui Turk.

The artworks play with depth, space and light. Photo – Jacqui Turk.

From Jane’s studio inspiration board. Photo – Jacqui Turk.

Studio details. Photo – Jacqui Turk.

Jane’s pieces have distinctive formal qualities, and repeat geometric patterns to create innovative forms and intriguing shadows. Photo – Jacqui Turk.

Artwork sketches in progress. Photo – Jacqui Turk.

Artwork sketches in progress. Photo – Jacqui Turk.

Jane’s pieces have distinctive formal qualities, and repeat geometric patterns to create innovative forms and intriguing shadows. Photo – Jacqui Turk.

Lucy Feagins
Tuesday 1st May 2018

‘I loved the tactility and malleability of clay, and the three-dimensional aspect suddenly made sense for me.’ – Jane McKenzie.

Jane McKenzie first encountered ceramics when in high school, after which followed ‘a hiatus of about 25 years’, before she returned to clay. After working as an architect for over twenty years, Jane followed a long-held dream to pursue her arts practice. She enrolled in a Bachelor of Fine Arts at the National Art School in Sydney, intending to major in painting, but soon realised the ceramics department was her happy place. ‘I loved the tactility and malleability of clay, and the three-dimensional aspect suddenly made sense for me’ Jane recalls. She’s been making ceramic sculptures ever since.

This connection to the materiality of the clay is important to Jane. ‘The first big investment most people working with clay usually make is a kiln or a wheel. Not me, I bought a slab roller, which rolls clay slabs of consistent thickness for me to build with. It’s a beautiful thing that gives me joy every time I use it.’

Jane’s architectural vocabulary shines through in her artworks, which play with depth, space and light. Her ceramic pieces have distinctive formal qualities, and repeat geometric patterns to create innovative forms and intriguing sites of shadow. ‘I’m interested in many different artists and architects, but it is the buildings of Le Corbusier and Louis Kahn that have the most impact on me’ the artist admits.

Spatially, Jane’s studio also influences her work. Her self-described ‘prison cell’ workplace sounds dreary (!), but the large windows make the National School of Art a special place in which to create. Into the future, Jane hopes to make a ‘site-specific big sculpture’ which ‘unlike a building, would have absolutely no function. And it would be quietly beautiful.’ This unassuming beauty will be on display at Jane’s solo show in Koskela in May.

View Comments

Similar Stories

TDF Open House 2017

Oh Hey Grace

The Northcote-based ceramicist introduces new playful forms, inspired by Bauhaus and Memphis design movements, created for TDF Open House.
Elle Murrell

Craft

Claudia Lau

Meet the ceramics prodigy behind that incredible pitcher.
Elle Murrell

TDF Open House 2017

Tantri Mustika Ceramics

One of our favourite discoveries of 2017 - see Tantri Mustika's terrazzo-inspired creations at The Design Files Open House this week!
Sally Tabart

This Week

Architecture

A Playful And Reorienting Renovation

Austin Maynard Architects joyfully reconfigure the Grant House in Fitzroy, Melbourne.
Lucy Feagins
  22 hours ago

Studio Visit

The Reinvention Of A Beloved Brisbane Artist

A chance meeting with a potter abroad inspired Rose Jensen-Holm to turn to the wheel, with a new exhibition opening this Friday.
Jo Hoban
  6 hours ago

News

TarraWarra Museum Of Art Opens Its Doors This Weekend

Enjoy free access to this celebrated Victorian museum and creative events at the TWMA Open Weekend!
Sally Tabart
  21 hours ago

Small Business

How To Get That Side Project Started

Groupon, Unsplash, WeWork, Craigslist and even Twitter were created initially as side hustles – maybe it's time to get your idea off t...
Fiona Killackey

Travel

7 Incredible Tiny Eco Getaways

Swap WiFi for star-gazing, in these dreamy eco retreats.

Tiny Homes

Get Off-Grid With CABN

Escape the world in these sleek, contemporary tiny cabins, situated in secret locations, each within 1.5 hours of a major city.

Interiors

2019 Dulux Colour Award Finalists Revealed!

Celebrating colour through this year's most eye-catching architectural and interior design projects.
Sally Tabart
  20 hours ago

News

Tired Of Intellectualising Everything? This Photographer Is

Kate Ballis’ new series ‘Spectrums of The Galapagos’ challenges us to connect and feel, rather than dissect.
Elle Murrell
  1 hour ago
45:53

Podcast

TDF Talks With Landscape Designer Paul Bangay

One of Australia’s most celebrated green thumbs reflect on his career, the mentors who have inspired him and his brand new book!

Art

A Celebrated Abstract Artist Shares Her ‘Rhythm Sequence’

Gemma Smith takes us inside a new exhibition, charting her experiments on canvas over the past 17 years.
Elle Murrell

News

Another Blockbuster Year For The Auckland Art Fair

The major annual event is back for another year, showcasing leading local and international contemporary art!

Architecture

The Long And Lean Sub-Tropical Dream!

Painted white brick and intriguing forms create a real eye-catcher, in this Shaun Lockyer designed home in Chandler, Queensland.
Miriam McGarry

Photography

A Solo Pilot's Breathtaking Photographic Project

Andrew Vukosav's current exhibition, 'Longitude, Latitude, Solitude', has taken the accomplished commercial photographer and his Cessna 182R...
Elle Murrell

Roundup

Just Announced – The 2019 Australian Interior Design Awards Shortlist

Our highlights reel of the lust-worthy residential interiors in the running for the prestigious Australian Interior Design Awards.

News

A History Of Melbourne, Told Through Train Tickets

Contemporary artist Peter Atkins reflects train ticket designs in Victoria to tell a forgotten history of Melbourne in The Passengers. 

Similar Stories

TDF Open House 2017

Oh Hey Grace

The Northcote-based ceramicist introduces new playful forms, inspired by Bauhaus and Memphis design movements, created for TDF Open House.
Elle Murrell

Craft

Claudia Lau

Meet the ceramics prodigy behind that incredible pitcher.
Elle Murrell

TDF Open House 2017

Tantri Mustika Ceramics

One of our favourite discoveries of 2017 - see Tantri Mustika's terrazzo-inspired creations at The Design Files Open House this week!
Sally Tabart