Chaos to Calm

26 July - 25 August 2019

Suellen Gifford strives to create original, fine cast, porcelain vessels. 

In 2011 she and her family found themselves living on Waiheke Island for 5 years and at that time reconnected with her old friend Penny Ericson (Portage finalist and Ceramic Degree tutor).

She had an extensive background in photography and the fashion industry. Because photography had changed so much over the years from the black and white hand developing, which she loved, to sitting at a computer processing data, which she didn’t enjoy so much, Suellen decided to reinvent herself as a potter. She joined a small group at the Ceramic factory on Waiheke and simultaneously was tutored weekly by Penny for six months.

In 2018 she was lucky enough to be in France for a week’s intensive one on one course with bone china artist Sasha Wardell.  

Here she learned the art of making plaster moulds and realised the difficulty in producing enough works for exhibitions and galleries through hand building.  She wanted to be in charge of the creative process and learned how to create her own designs on the lathe and from there casting the moulds and making the vessels by either carving into the surface of the pot using the water erosion techniques or tools. She has just begun experimenting with raised designs (an influence from her experience as a printmaker.) and stains her porcelain slips with mixtures of commercial stains to achieve a desired colour and tone so the pieces reflect an original contemporary style.