Wheel Art

March 09th, 2017
Wheel Art
Ceramics, an ancient yet still embraced art form, is alive and well in the Adelaide Hills.

Originally from Sydney, ceramicist Stephanie James-Manttan gave up her job as a business analyst when she moved to Adelaide and immersed herself into the art world.

“I originally wanted to do sculpture but I started doing ceramics and fell in love with it,” she said.

“The benefit of working with ceramics is that I could sustain a practice full time.”

After studying at the Adelaide Centre for the Arts, Stephanie went on to develop her work at the Jam Factory, founded her own ceramics studio and has been involved with numerous solo and group exhibitions.

Stephanie now calls The Barn’s clay shed studio home – it’s where she does her own work, teaches and hosts workshops.

“Ceramics is an ancient process that has been around for over 26,000 years and is something that really should be learnt and taught,” she said.
“It’s a dying process – something that should be nurtured and not forgotten about.

“Things get thrown away because people don’t appreciate objects they own.”
At her upcoming workshop in April, Stephanie will provide insight into making hand built objects that are functional and unique.

The day will provide an opportunity to use a variety of different clay types and introduce various building, decorating and glazing methods.

“It’s a unique experience because you do actually come away with something you have made and they’re objects you can share with other people,” Stephanie said.

“We will spend the morning hand building objects you will be able to use at home which vary from bowls to jugs.

“Then in the afternoon I will introduce decorating techniques. We will look at the forms after we’ve completed them and discuss what kind of glazes and visual outcomes we want.”

Limited to 10 people per workshop, a small group allows for a more supportive environment.

“There are better outcomes because we can actually discuss a lot more about the techniques and refine them,” Stephanie said. “Sometimes you make something that is not to a certain standard, but we’ll have time to start again and fix it.

“I’ve had a couple of people who’ve worked with clay before but they just needed a little bit of advice to work through certain techniques.”

When creating her own work, Stephanie said she is particularly inspired by South Australian architecture and the patterns around her.

“I’m currently working on a body of work for an exhibition at The Barn in April, so I look at architecture – lots of patterns and designs,” she said. “It’s more about the place and where I am.

“There’s a lot of architecture in South Australia that is quite unique, that you don’t see anywhere else, especially the old buildings.”

Bridgewater’s Kara Proctor has been attending Stephanie’s classes for about two to three years and said she loves her teaching style.

“I had no experience when I first started but Stephanie is very calm, patient and has attention to detail,” Kara said.

“She makes you feel comfortable – when you do make a mistake she will help you improve next time.

Kara said she enjoys ceramics because it’s relaxing and a bit of an escape.

She enjoys making functional objects such as jugs and plates, and likes working with terracotta in neutral colours.

“Stephanie’s also adaptable to your style,” Kara said.

“I like clean and modern styles, while other people might be more into pottery, so she adapts to the person. I made a nice plate last time which I used the other night for a salad.

“They can make good gifts, especially for mums who are happy to take anything.”

The workshop will be held on Sunday, April 2 from 10am-4.30pm at The Barn’s clay shed studio at 142 Mount Barker Road, Aldgate.

The cost is $265 which includes home made lunch, tea and coffee and material and firings.

To book visit http://www.sjmceramics.com.au or email steph@sjmceramics.com.au

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