Before the pandemic hit, Astrid Salomon was a full-time fashion photographer. She’d lived in Berlin, New York and Hamburg, and had only recently returned to Melbourne before the city found itself in lockdown.
‘We were not able to work. It was a complete shutdown in our industry,’ she says. ‘So, I did a deep dive into ceramics, and it escalated rather quickly.’
Which, in truth, is putting it lightly. A year after the pandemic hit she exhibited her work at 1000Vases in Milan 2021, where her pieces were chosen to feature on the campaign posters throughout the city. Later that year she was approached to submit her work for a group show in Sydney with Michael Reid. In late 2022 Craft Victoria asked her to do a virtual open show, and then again to participate in their ‘Blue’ show in January this year.
Thus, Bastard Ceramics became a name in Australia’s creative scene faster than Astrid would have guessed. ‘Little did I know I would have an audience other than my friends,’ she explains. ‘I love making ceramics but I also like to disrupt by not sticking to one thing. So, to me it seemed right to choose a controversial name that basically says, yes, I have a bastard child and gosh I love it to bits!’
Her work is ever changing, as she experiments with techniques and allows her emotions to guide her direction. ‘Sometimes I process difficult emotions through my work and the piece created is a sort of answer to a question I haven’t voiced out loud,’ she explains. ‘I have a strong connection to the material rather than a specific shape. And sometimes it very much feels like an inner dialogue. That is also why I cannot make the very same work over and over again.’
Her first collection, ‘A Family Affair’, was angular and raw. ‘Brutales’ in 2021 explored a more chunky modern stone-age style. ‘Guardian’ in 2022 took a more delicate approach with funnel-like vases and painterly glaze. ‘Resilience’ explores larger, classic vase shapes with spiky armour, whilst ‘Volumes‘, looks at fluid, undulating forms.
‘I feel like my pieces like to keep their own voice, not one is like the other, they might be related or inform the next work,’ she says.
It’s what makes Astrid’s work so exciting; you never know what’s next.