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Entering Lost Worlds With Oh Hey Grace Ceramics

Studio Visit

We first encountered ceramicist Grace Brown of Oh Hey Grace in 2017. It was just ahead of TDF Open House, and her decorative clay pieces inspired by architectural history were unlike anything we’d seen before.

The now established ceramicist has taken her practice to new heights since then, and in the midst of a chaotic year has launched her very first solo exhibition. From now until November, Lost Worlds is showing at The Stockroom in Kyneton. (Psst! Though restrictions prohibit any metropolitan Melburnians from visiting the show, all the pieces are available to shop online for those keen beans following Grace’s work.)

We recently caught up with Grace to talk life, clay and everything in between.

10th August, 2020

Photo – Jess Brohier. Art Direction – Cristina Guerrero.

Photo – Jess Brohier. Art Direction – Cristina Guerrero.

LEFT: Photo – Jess Brohier. Art Direction – Cristina Guerrero. RIGHT: Photo – Melissa Cowan.

Photo – Jess Brohier. Art Direction – Cristina Guerrero.

Photo – Jess Brohier. Art Direction – Cristina Guerrero.

Sasha Gattermayr
Monday 10th August 2020

Grace Brown’s fascination with dislocated civilisations, lost cities and dystopian futures feels eerily prescient of the year we’re having. The difference being mainly that Grace’s mission is to transport her viewer to a weirder, more mysterious realm. Never did she expect us to be living in one!

Despite this uncanny parallel, the artful, maze-like constructions she makes under under the moniker Oh Hey Grace still function beautifully as an escapist portal from our currently stationary lives! Inspired by the works of M. C. Escher, her tiny twisting cities resemble miniature metropolises.

Though 2020 has been a whirlwind for all of us, this unforgettable year has yielded a shift in Grace’s practice. Still retaining her geometric architectural silhouettes, she has stepped away from functional objects to explore the more sculptural side of her craft. Ahead of Lost Worlds, her debut solo show at Stockroom in Kyneton (on now until November), we chatted to Grace about what she’s been up to these past few years.

Oh hey Grace! It’s been a while since we last caught up. What’s been happening since we last spoke?

I’ve been busy working away on developing new work and exploring the more sculptural side of my practice. After jumping around and changing my workspace a lot since we last spoke, I finally settled in the beautiful Bisque Studios alongside Asobimasu Clay and Usagi Ceramics and absolutely love the space. It’s been a crazy year juggling a small business, and teaching in schools, particularly with shows being postponed and managing remote teaching. 2020 has been full of surprises!

It definitely has. What a year to have your first solo exhibition! Can you tell us about the pieces included in the show?

This collection is inspired by desert landscapes and fallen civilisations. Some of my favourite pieces include utopian dwellings, intricate candelabras influenced by M.C Escher, and labyrinth-inspired floating cities that hang from the wall. It’s been an opportunity for me to push myself in new directions, and explore some of the reoccurring themes and motifs within my work.

Where does the name ‘Lost Worlds’ come from?

Lost Worlds is a collection of utopian cityscapes, dwellings, and miniature communities created as a response to the often dystopian reality outside… Something that feels more and more relevant in 2020!

When I started making for this show, I wanted to transport the viewer to another place… I’ve always been interested in fallen civilisations or communities that have been displaced resulting in once thriving cities, now being abandoned.

Each piece aims to play with light and shadow, prompting the viewer to consider the piece from a variety of angles.

What’s next for you?

This year I had a number of shows lined up in Victoria and interstate but like many creatives, many of these plans have been postponed indefinitely due to lockdowns. It has, however, offered me the opportunity to develop work further and push myself in new directions, which I may not have otherwise had the space and time to explore.

I’m super excited to be putting together a show with Modern Times in late October alongside the painter Margaret Voterakis. It’s been a dream to have a show in collaboration with Modern Times and also to pair my work together with a painter. So the latter half of the year is looking inspiring and exciting. Watch this space!

‘Lost Worlds’ is running at Stockroom in Kyneton until November 1st. Due to restrictions in regional Victoria, the gallery will be open by appointment from Monday – Friday until further notice. Grace’s pieces are available to shop online here.

Stockroom is located at 98 Piper Street, Kyneton.

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First Nations artists, designers, makers and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files – we would love to hear from you.

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