Studio Visit

Inside The Experimental + Ever Changing Practice Of Astrid Salomon's 'Bastard Ceramics'

No two collections by Bastard Ceramics will ever be the same. Artist Astrid Salomon relies on emotions and material to dictate her direction, rather than sticking to a specific shape or style.

Although she’s in the early days of ‘finding her voice’, she’s already exhibited in Milan and Australia. See her captivating work below!

Bea Taylor

Astrid Salomon, of Bastard Ceramics, in her Mornington Peninsula studio. Photo – Astrid Salomon

Pieces from ‘Brutales’ (top left), ‘Guardian’ (top right), ‘Resilience’ (middle right) and ‘Volumes’ (bottom left) all sit together in Astrid’s studio. Photo – Astrid Salomon

‘My inspirations can emerge from anything, I do love picking up stones and rocks (my son does too, so our house has quite a collection). But it can be just a part of something completely random that connects with me somehow and triggers an idea,’ she says. Photo – Astrid Salomon

Pieces from her ‘Resilience’ collection, ‘Volumes’ series, and ‘A Family Affair’. Photo – Astrid Salomon

In some of her early work Astrid experimented with different glaze techniques. Photo – Astrid Salomon

‘When I start a new series of work, the approach it quite playful, I respond to the clay as I am building,’ she explains. Photo – Astrid Salomon

‘Sometimes I don’t know where I am headed when making, as it feels the work offers itself in the process, but I trust this lead and follow to what feels right,’ she says. Photo – Astrid Salomon

A piece from Astrid’s ‘Brutales’ collection in 2021. Photo – Astrid Salomon

‘I often wonder if anyone can follow my seemingly erratic changes. But I am still in my early years of making finding my voice,’ she says. Photo – Astrid Salomon

Photo – Astrid Salomon

From left: ‘Intersection‘ and ‘Resilience No.31‘ by Astrid Salomon. Photo – Astrid Salomon

Pieces from Astrid’s new ‘Volume‘ series. Photo – Astrid Salomon

Resilience No.31‘ by Astrid Salomon. Photo – Astrid Salomon

Bea Taylor
5th of April 2023

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. 

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