A timeless land

THE beautiful, textural ceramics of ceramic artist Pippin Drysdale are timeless classics.

This is exactly what the 12th Duke of Devonshire, Peregrine Cavendish, thought when he bought a range of Drysdale’s pieces to sit along the priceless ancient Roman and Egyptian sculptures and Rembrandt and Veronese masterpieces in the private collection at his majestic home, Chatsworth House, in the Peak District of England.

Drysdale’s porcelain vessels, marbles and platters are aesthetically stunning and resonate with the viewer on a range of levels, including their evocation of striking Australian natural landscapes.

• Pippin Drysdale at home in her studio. Photo supplied

Ambassador

Drysdale has exhibited in New Zealand, America, Siberia, Russia, Germany and various other places throughout Europe. She recounts many trips she has made during her career with fondness, despite the huge freight costs and planning involved in the transport of her ceramics internationally.

“I sometimes feel I am a bit of an ambassador,” says Drysdale.

“It really humbled me to think that we have such exciting country,” she says of a trip she made to Katherine Gorge (out of Darwin), Kings Canyon, Ayers Rock and The Olgas as a 50-year-old.

The trip inspired her beautiful Kings Canyon installation, which resides at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. The works embody her careful experimentation with colour, line and shape.

“I’ve always responded to journeys from an emotional perspective. [When I was] all the way up the Indus River, I came home with just so much emotion from there.

“I like to feel [my pieces] have a story,” she adds.

• From Drysdale’s Kimberley Series 2019): Echidna Chasm. Photo by Robert Frith

Drysdale has been making her world-renowned ceramics for more than 20 years, though she said simply surviving while she cemented her technique was a challenge.

In recent years the form and emphasis of her art has naturally evolved. 

“Over time I wanted to become more and more minimal.

“[I] always had that horizon line… no more of that… it’s time to get into the traces of time.

“There was a yearning for me to move away from the pure form”.

The vessel and marble concept is one of the unique concepts in Drysdale’s art.

“The vessel which is like a womb-like interior, that represents the female. And the marble represents the male energy,” Drysdale explains.

She currently works alongside “thrower” Warrick Palmateer from her home studio in Fremantle and credits him for the “important part” he played particularly in the Devils Marbles series.

The processes, stages and skills in each of her pieces is phenomenal, involves throwing, refining, firing, sanding, glazing and various other stages in between.

“You can’t cheat any of the processes… there’s so many processes to be able to make the glaze work perfectly, not to have it too matte or too shiny.”

Drysdale was one of the 2015 recipients of the State Living Treasures award for her contribution to the WA arts sector.

Drysdale’s Kimberley Series 2019 will be exhibiting at Linton and Kay Gallery in Subiaco until November 3.

by ALEX MURFETT

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