Studio Visit

The Reinvention Of A Beloved Brisbane Artist

Recent visits to Italy and a chance meeting with an elderly potter have made quite the impression on Brisbane-based artist, Rose Jensen-Holm, who we last visited in 2015. In fact, these experiences have inspired a shift from weaving to ceramics, with enchanting results!

Rose’s first solo exhibition, Impressio, opens at Paper Boat Press on Friday. We visited Rose’s studio just prior to the show.

Jo Hoban

Artist Rose Jensen-Holm. Photo – Mindi Cooke.

Inside Rose’s studio. Photo – Mindi Cooke.

Photo – Mindi Cooke.

Photo – Mindi Cooke.

A spare bedroom in Rose’s cottage is used to shelve drying pots and store materials. Photo – Mindi Cooke.

‘When my mum and I were visiting Magda’s tiny studio in Italy, I realised that you don’t need a big, fancy Pinterest-worthy space to make beautiful work. That was a lightbulb moment for me,’ says Rose. Photo – Mindi Cooke.

Rose fires her work between the two studios of fellow potters, who she feels lucky to have built invaluable relationships with. Photo – Mindi Cooke.

Rose has been working on this body of work for the better part of a year, and has found it extremely useful to see how her style and techniques have evolved over that time. Photo – Aden Sargeant.

‘I love clay as a medium because it pushes my impatient, perfectionist self to the absolute limit!’ she tells. Photo – Mindi Cooke.

Working details. Photo – Mindi Cooke.

Rose climbs up onto her kitchen bench to knead clay. Photo – Mindi Cooke.

She finds her kitchen bench isn’t quite the right height for kneading, so this works well for her. We admire her ingenuity! Photo – Mindi Cooke.

‘Over the past couple of years, I prefer to work mostly with slab and hand-building techniques,’ she details. ‘It’s a slower process and allows my intuition to guide the clay to the final stages.’ Photo – Mindi Cooke.

Detail of Roses’s incredible glaze work. Photo – Nicolette Johnson.

Photo – Nicolette Johnson.

With glazes, Rose limits herself to a minimal colour palette and enjoys experimenting within this spectrum. Photo – Mindi Cooke.

‘Kylie Johnson of Paper Boat Press runs such an incredibly inspiring space with thoughtfully curated exhibitions,’ says Rose. ‘To be asked to have my first show there is a huge compliment. The exhibition has allowed me to reflect on my work and think more clearly about where my ideas originate and why.’ Photo – Mindi Cooke.

Jo Hoban
26th of March 2019

During artist Rose Jensen-Holm’s second trip to Bellagio, Italy, she stumbled upon a small gallery/studio filled with the most beautiful ceramics she had ever seen. It belonged to Magda Guaitamacchi, potter and gallerist. Rose was nurturing an interest in ceramics, and Magda’s story resonated: she had started her ceramics journey at the age of 40, and now at 86 was still throwing, firing large scale works, running a gallery, and sending pieces around the world.

In her early 30s at the time, Rose was ‘totally inspired’. She had always been encouraged to explore different creative pathways growing up with her art teacher mother on Queensland’s picturesque Sunshine Coast. Italy proved a catalyst for a range of new ideas: ‘I thought that nothing could rival the inspiration of the ocean meeting the sand on a beach at home, however Italy’s diverse Mediterranean landscape, and the laid-back Italian lifestyle have become a new and complementary source of inspiration.’

After her serendipitous initial meeting with Magda, Rose returned home to Australia, and began her own ceramic journey. In the intervening years she has developed a distinct ‘voice’ in clay (and has returned to visit Magda!). ‘My work is inspired by the surfaces of the natural landscape as well as the ancient vestiges of faraway civilisations,’ Rose explains. Her process involves handbuilding and throwing, using a mixture of stoneware and porcelain clays to create varied surfaces. Rose has also developed a signature carving style and enjoys intuitively layering glazes on her organic-shaped, textural serving platters, tableware and jewellery.

It’s important to Rose that her pieces are functional, mainly for the sake of good food: ‘There is nothing quite like serving food in hand-built objects that reflect a love of artistic and culinary creativity.’ The Italian influence is ever-present!

On Rose’s dedicated ‘clay days’ (she also has another part-time job) she puts a temporary surface on the kitchen bench where she can shape, carve and refine her work, and a trestle table on her verandah where she can glaze. ‘It means I don’t need to pay for a studio space and I’m surrounded by all the objects I’ve collected that inspire me.’

Rose is thrilled to have her first solo show at Paper Boat Press, a gallery and workshop the artist holds dear: ‘My collection for Impressio captures, reflects, and sculpts the stories from a life of experiences, with landscapes both near and far.’

Impressio by Rose Jensen-Holm
March 29th to April 13th
Paper Boat Press
60 Ashgrove Crescent
Ashgrove, Queensland
Live demonstrations
Saturday, March 30th
10:30-11:30am and 12:30-1:30pm

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