STUDIO VISIT | Ceramicist Nicolette Johnson

 

Join us as voyeurs on our latest studio visit with another talented woman! We visited the light-filled home studio of Brisbane-based ceramic artist Nicolette Johnson. Nicolette took us through the process of creating one of her iconic (and much sought-after) symbol vases. We were intrigued by so many interested collected objects, artefacts and of course Nicolette's ceramics in various states of completion.  Read on below, we sat down to chat about Nicolette's creative process, influences and exciting future happenings.  Photography by Savannah van der Niet.

Nicolette Johnson in her home studio amongst her sculptural large scale ceramics.

Nicolette Johnson in her home studio amongst her sculptural large scale ceramics.

Tell me a bit about what sources of visual inspiration you look to when thinking about creating new work?

I often look at what potters have made before me.  I get a lot of inspiration from ancient Greek, Chinese, and Egyptian forms and textures as I really appreciate the marriage of the functional and the decorative.

Could you tell us about your philosophy that underpins your ceramics practice?

The reason I began learning ceramics was to relieve my anxiety as I was finding being a freelance photographer incredibly stressful.  I have since figured out that I am just an anxious person and that I will experience stress no matter what I do, but having passion for your process, having respect for your tools and materials, and realising that doing the best you can is good enough, really helps to remind me how privileged I am to be able to do what I do.

Nicolette wears the Faro Earrings

Nicolette wears the Faro Earrings

The Vega Necklace in Gold

The Vega Necklace in Gold

How does the design process work for you. Do you sketch and implement or is there a degree of free form play?

Definitely both, but more recently I will just throw a variety of forms on the wheel and figure out the design in terms of final shape and glaze as I go along.  Sometimes I'll have a burst of ideas that I must get down on paper, but most of the time it's a little more organic than that.

Studio shelves full of work in various states of completion

Studio shelves full of work in various states of completion

What is a typical or your favourite kind of day in the studio?

I love coming into the studio and getting into the clay straight away.  Most mornings however I have to play admin and respond to emails while I'm still relatively clean (before I start making!)

Have you travelled anywhere recently that has informed your work?

This year has been a quiet one on the travel front (except for a quick sprint to New York City mid year!)  NYC is an incredible place to soak up inspiration, and even though it was a bit of a whirlwind trip it gave a lot to me in terms of excitement for my craft.

The Cleopatra Earrings in Tan sitting amongst found objects and ceramics in Nicolette's studio

The Cleopatra Earrings in Tan sitting amongst found objects and ceramics in Nicolette's studio

Nicolette wears the Miles Earring

Nicolette wears the Miles Earring

Is there any projects on future horizons you are really excited about?

Absolutely!  I am showing some work in November's Design Files Open House in Melbourne which I am thrilled about.  Next year has some exciting shows lined up as well, including a group exhibition at Saint Cloche in April as well as my first solo show at Paper Boat Press in October!

Nicolette wearing the Pendulum Earrings in Navy and Tan

Nicolette wearing the Pendulum Earrings in Navy and Tan

Symbol vases in process

Symbol vases in process

Nicolette Johnson x Bianca Mavrick_By Savannah van der Niet-35.jpg

What are some of your favourite spots in Brisbane ?

There are a few op-shops around town that I love to stop by every so often, and Tom and I love to go to the Enoggera Reservoir on hot days as well as stroll around the Mt. Coot-tha Botanical Gardens. Our regular cafe has to be Corner Store in Toowong.

The Faro Earrings in Army hanging out on Nicolette's studio floor.

The Faro Earrings in Army hanging out on Nicolette's studio floor.

The Efira Earrings in clay rubble

The Efira Earrings in clay rubble

The Miles Earring blending in to a striking vessel by Nicolette.

The Miles Earring blending in to a striking vessel by Nicolette.

Nicolette Johnson x Bianca Mavrick_By Savannah van der Niet-43.jpg

See more of Nicolette's work online here at www.nicolettejohnsonceramics.com and on instagram @swsco

 
Bianca Mavrick