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Meet some of our artists and makers

Caroline Ainsworth:
Ceramic artist and sculptor

Caroline Ainsworth is a Welsh born artist that resides in the Northern Rivers area of New South Wales, Australia. She graduated from Southern Cross University, Lismore in 2014 with a Bachelor of Visual Arts. She works primarily in ceramics with drawing, photography and writing as major contributors to her arts practice.

Her work speaks of identity, memory and cultural heritage. She uses stories and traditions from the past to inform the contemporary world in which we live. Her playful engagement with the subject matter embraces imperfections found in everyday existence. This invites us to reflect on the ebb and flow of life that makes us who we are and question the relationship we have with our environment.

www.carolineainsworth.com

Helen Black:
Ceramic artist

Since taking up ceramics a year ago Helen has come to find a deep satisfaction in the process of shaping clay. This is reflected in the calm, earthy quality of her work.

 

“For a moment the mind is still and it is just the hands and fingers and clay doing their little dance.”

 

Previously a botanist, she is inspired by the beauty found in small structures of the plant world and ever-present in the simple things in life.

 

Helen lives near the small town of Kyogle in Northern NSW with her husband and two young children.

Deborah Brown
Photographer and Visual Artist

Deborah is a self taught artist with a passion for photography and painting. Since retiring from a 37 year career in teaching she is now able to indulge in her own artistic pursuits.

 

Deborah has lived on the Central Coast of N.S.W., the rainforest of Toonumbar and the country town of Kyogle. The natural environment and especially the birdlife in these areas, in addition to recent travels in Europe and the U.K. have given her no end of inspiration for her photographic and painting exhibitions.

 

With a life long passion for photography, Deborah is always looking for unusual perspectives, reflections, shadows and patterns in the natural and man made environments.

“When I take a photo I am often thinking of its potential as reference for painting. I enjoy the immediacy of photography and the vibrancy and flexibility of painting with acrylics.”

Her other creative interests include printmaking, the production of hand made cards and jewellery and self publishing art and photography books.

Alyssia Fraser:
Jewellery and Ceramics

Alyssia lives in the hills in northern NSW and is the creator and owner of 'Rusanova' and 'The White Owl'.

'Rusanova' is handmade bespoke vintage upcycled jewellery.

Each one-off piece is created by transforming vintage brooches, earrings, charms and other old gems into fresh wearable designs. 

Whether it be for a special event like a wedding or formal, or a way of preserving and showcasing a family heirloom, each individual piece is given a new life by combining it with modern elements. “There is a story and an energy that is associated with each piece of vintage jewellery I use. I like to honour this story while allowing the piece to be carried into the 21st century. It seems a shame to keep these gems shut away in a drawer.”

 

'The white owl' is a range modern ceramic accessories and small home wares. Practical and usable designs that compliment the clean crisp aesthetic of fine porcelain.

Alyssia has dabbled in drawing and printmaking but eventually fell in love with clay. After trying a few different types of clay, Alyssia has settled on a fine, semi translucent mid-fire porcelain similar to bone china out of which she forms earrings, necklaces, pendants, dishes and table ware with patterns combining the essence of nature and classic china.

Nicole Heckel:
Sculptor-Painter

Nicole is a self taught visual artist who has been drawing and painting for over 25 years. From 2012–2014 she broadened these skills further by Studying a Bachelor of Visual Arts at Southern Cross University, majoring in ceramics, a medium she had never used before.

Her ceramic sculptures showcase undulating forms embedded with hand built imperfections, torn edges and folds aesthetically providing the perfect organic canvas / ceramic skin for realistic transcriptions hand painted in under glazes.

 

Today Nicole’s artistic practice concentrates on representations of human identity, expressions of emotion and the fragmented form, often entangled with undertones of human psychology illustrated

through the use of many different mediums. Each unique piece is artfully transformed into a visual device that triggers ways of thinking, often displaying visual or conceptual dualities.

Jenny Kitchener:
Printmaker

Jenny Kitchener is more than just a passionate practising printmaker. She is also an ardent

observer of nature and collector of insects and spiders. From an early age she was captivated by

the drawn line and Mr Squiggle was an early influence on her work.

Pattern, repetition and rhythm play a part in nature and also feature in Jenny’s prints. She has been seduced by the humble linocut which has become an ideal matrix from which a multitude of insects, birds, flowers, leaves, mirrors, scissors and other ephemera emerge.

Jenny has exhibited widely throughout Australia and has held eleven solo shows. She has artwork in collections across Australia and overseas, including The National Gallery of Australia, the State Library of Queensland and The London Print Workshop. In 2008 she was a commissioned artist for The Print Council of Australia and in 2011 she was artist in residence at the prestigious Australian Print Workshop. More recently in 2016 she secured a residency with Inkmasters in Cairns. She is represented by Port Jackson Press Print Gallery in Melbourne.

Busy bees, beautiful butterflies, beetles and wasps inhabit her recent prints as she highlights the problems inherent in the indiscriminate use of pesticides and the plight of the pollinators.

Beautiful birds have now joined with the insects in her prints, highlighting the essential part they play in plant reproduction and to the ongoing biodiversity of our planet.

Victoria Pitel:
Sculptor

Victoria's work is centred on the relationship between ceramics, biography and human ontology, a combination of narrative and form, synthesising hand building techniques with human ontology in a way that challenges the boundaries of each.

 

Victoria is preoccupied with the self in the world and what it means to inhabit the human form; a site from which thought takes place and through which inner states are projected. Constructing the human form in clay allows for an exploration of presence and the examination of self; where boundaries of the psychological and physiological become indistinct and where language rooted in intuition.

These concepts underpin her work and the way in which creative processes may give expression to ideas. Research and inspiration of how one’s sense of self may be carried in the physical; a visual representation of internal worlds, include painter Odd Nurdrum and sculptors Rathbone Kelly Garrett, Christie Brown, Melisa Cadell and Cristina Cordova.

Completing a BA (Art) degree through OUA at Curtin University of Technology (2009) Victoria was drawn to return to ceramics and face-to-face tuition. This lead to the completion of an Advanced Diploma in Visual Arts (Ceramics) at North Coast Institute Tafe Lismore (2015). During this period (2011) she was introduced to figurative ceramics by lecturer and ceramist Ruth Park. Inspired by the spectrum and dialogues, and the way in which she is able to contribute, lit a passion and therefore a focus in developing her art practice in the field of figurative ceramics.

Jill Runciman:
Photographer & Mixed Media Artist

Jill Runciman is a photographer and mixed media artist originally from Pennsylvania in the USA. She has settled in Kyogle with her husband and two daughters after years of living in the UK and Sydney; much of her work is heavily influenced by this cultural pastiche and feelings of not fully belonging to any one place. After years as a commercial photographer with her business Run&See Creative, Jill’s focus has shifted to exploring themes of nostalgia, childhood, femininity, and the banal through conceptual artworks which combine photographic techniques, recycled materials, and traditional craft methods – often mixed with a healthy dose of dark humour and kitsch. Jill’s work has been in multiple publications, and her artwork has exhibited in the USA, the UK, Italy, and Australia.

Mario Sanchez:
Leather Craft

Mario Sanchez is an Australian-based leather craftsman from the picturesque rural town of Kyogle in the northern reaches of NSW.

Mario is a trained graphic designer and visual artist who has over 10 years experience working commercially for various companies in the field of ideas, imagery and branding.

In 2012 Mario was introduced to the art of leather working, exploring its possibilities whilst drawing upon his past design training and experience. Leather has become his passion and obsession through which he strives to better himself with every completed piece.

Influenced by pop culture and unusual subcultural imagery, Mario's leather works juxtapose 'new' epoch imagery with the 'old', traditional medium of leather carving.

Mario developed an affinity with veg-tanned leather in particular for its traditional roots, versatility and a much less detrimental impact on the environment than other more commercialised methods of processing leather. He believes in making items that will be cherished and last a long time to combat our cultural attachment to the disposable. To achieve this he has resolved to specialise in making one-of-a-kind, unique items that will connect with individual tastes rather than the masses, using very high quality materials.

Custom orders are most welcome – get in touch with your ideas!

Paul Tiernan
Timber Crafter

Lured by the warmth of timber, Paul started his practice in the early days in the back room of his three bedroom house, then soon went on to show at galleries such as Bungendore Wood Works Gallery and Australian Woodwork. Paul follows the natural curves of the timber, or ‘reads’ its inherent qualities, responding with a form that emerges through an interaction between maker and material. The final technical and functional requirements of utility then have to be considered to bring the piece to its final conclusion. Paul also values collaborating with other artists and artisans, he might turn handles for emu feather dusters, or table legs for furniture makers, and painters have adorned some of his turned wood bowls. Soon after moving into their beautiful patch of paradise near Kyogle, Paul and Lyn Tiernan planted their own timber plantation. As Paul explained, “At the end of the day it was about putting something back in because I was taking something out”. Paul has not only been proactive in managing his own creative footprint on the environment, but he has also planted a good number of trees for future generations. 

Leigha White
Painter/Printmaker

Leigha’s practice has seen her painting portraits of notable Australians, and working in printmaking studios in Sydney and Melbourne. She has collaborated with many printmakers over the last 20 years and her work is included in printmedia editions that are now part of permanent collections in galleries and libraries around the world. Her work has been exhibited in the Mosman Art Prize, Salon des Refuses, Portia Geach Memorial Prize and the Naked and Nude Prize. Her personal philosophy as an artist is to pay no attention to restraint. 

 

White’s work is very much an extension of herself, interests and personality. It is often a portrayal of life captured in a moment of time, distorted through her lens. “People tend to rationalise the meaning of an artwork by interpreting emotions and clues, these assumptions lead to a narrative and I encourage this process by manipulating compositions”. As a printmaker, White explores the infinite possibilities of the abstract aesthetic and enjoys the freedom it gives her to expand techniques without conventional limits.