In a recent visit to her Brooklyn studio, Raewyn Atkinson studio spoke about the collaborative community environmental components of her work as a ceramicist; and of her love of porcelain, inspired by earlier visits to China and Japan. For Raewyn the pure, untainted and translucent nature of porcelain reflects the fragility of environment and of individuals, and of the relationships between them.

In a studio surrounded by examples of her works the group engaged in conversation with Raewyn about the concepts and experiences that inform her work and the materials and techniques she uses. In recounting her visit to the Antarctic in 2000 she talked about the contrast between the fragility and light of that environment, the relics left behind by past human endeavours, and the effects of global warming and tourism.

Of particular interest were examples of ‘reconstituted’ or ‘recycled’ ceramics created from broken shards.  Some from earlier works smashed during the recent earthquakes, others from ‘wasters’ from a ceramic factory gathered from a beach during a three year ‘residency’ at the School of Art Practice at U.C. Berkeley in California.

You can see a video of Tepco Beach ‘wasters’ on her website along with other examples of her work, several of which are held in the Te Papa collections.

This studio visit was part of a regular series of events offering you different opportunities to meet the artists and learn about the influences that inspire their work. 

Feature image: Detail from:  I Too Am in Paradise, a series of unfired clay urns, each bearing the phrase Et in Arcadia ego and containing a young kōwhai ngutukākā (kākābeak) plant.