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A Brisbane Artist Fusing Paper, Crochet + Porcelain In Her Sculptures

Studio Visit

Artist Liz Sofield moved to Brisbane 16 years ago and has lived in the coastal town of Scarborough, 30 kilometres north of the city, since. Before that, she and her young family did a brief stint living in a remote mining town. Devoid of a creative outlet, it was here that she reconnected with her childhood love for making art.

Drawing on training textile design and interior design, and with a lifelong love for craft, Liz began making simple sculptures from paper and thread. Now, her works consists of crochet and porcelain forms, which she makes from her sunny 1950s home in Queensland.

25th March, 2021

Artist Liz Sofield makes her pieces from her sunny 1950s home in Scarborough on the Queensland coast. Photos – Mindi Cooke.

Liz makes three types of art: textile paper art, crochet porcelain and origami porcelain – each one a fusion of two mediums. Photos – Mindi Cooke.

After spending time in a remote mining community Liz realised that she was missing working creatively with her hands. She began experimenting with paper sculptures, which she threaded together with cotton. Photos – Mindi Cooke.

Liz makes her crochet porcelain pieces by stitching together cotton nets and then dipping them in liquid porcelain clay. Photos – Mindi Cooke.

The netted forms then emerge as ceramic vessels, which hold the soft dented form of crochet. Photos – Mindi Cooke.

This method allows her to push the rigidity of clay and create detailed, filigreed works. Photos – Mindi Cooke.

A crocheted sculpture emerging from the liquid porcelain. Photos – Mindi Cooke.

Paper, clay and cotton are the material pillars of her practice. Photos – Mindi Cooke.

‘In the chaos of everyday life, we all need and crave a sense of calm,’ says Liz. She hopes her artworks convey that! Photos – Mindi Cooke.

Sasha Gattermayr
Thursday 25th March 2021

Ceramics were not always included in Liz Sofield’s artistic practice. She originally made sculptures only from paper and string, threading fine cotton through folded paper shapes to create her artistic forms. But recently, she has added porcelain as the third medium of her full-time practice.

‘My paper artworks and ceramics are linked to my fascination with textiles,’ says Liz. ‘The tactile and meditative process of each is part of an ongoing quest for harmony, and binds these mediums together.’

Liz makes three types of art: textile paper art, crochet porcelain and origami porcelain – each one a fusion of two mediums.

‘I like to blend these processes together,’ says Liz. ‘So I taught myself to fold fine porcelain so that it referenced the folded paper I had been experimenting with. I stitched my folded paper artwork so that it referenced my childhood stitching. I dipped crochet forms in clay to complete the circle.’

Her netted ceramic sculptures are created by first crocheting shapes from cotton. When the final design is complete, she dips it into a liquid porcelain slip to create a solid outer shell of clay around the soft textile before firing it in a kiln. This mirrors the process of her paper sculptures for which she creates a loose layout – cutting and folding the paper shapes and making stitch marks – and finally hand-embroidering a delicate overlay. Her porcelain origami is a more straightforward approach, with the clay forms simply folded in the same intricate manner as delicate paper boats.

Liz’s multidisciplinary practice has been the result of many years of experimentation. Her training in textile design and professional background as an interior designer have given her an appreciation of light, space and repetition, while time spent in a remote mining town in Western Australia or on the coast of Queensland awarded her a wealth of natural inspiration.

But ultimately, Liz’s goal is to instil a sense of tranquility into both the making and the viewing of her delicate, tactile pieces. ‘In the chaos of everyday life, we all need and crave a sense of calm,’ she says. Agreed!

Learn more about Liz’s practice here.

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The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net