Artist in Residency with Tracey Muirhead

How long have you been an artist for? When did you start and why!? 

Eek - I don’t usually use the term artist for myself – to me an artist is someone who earns that title and since I’m a newbie, I have a way to go.  I started selling my pots in 2012 and have been lucky to have amazing support for my obsession!!  I love clay. I love shapes, and I love the relationship between form, colour and texture.

Did you study? Or Were you mentored?

I started potting when my second child went to school and I had a bit of time (actually – “Arrrgghh what am I going to do with myself???!!!!”). I found a great class at the Wyreena Community Centre – the loveliest people, and then went on to study part-time for 4 years at Box Hill Tafe, graduating in 2010 – more lovely people!! 

 

Who do get inspiration from? People or Things ?!

I’m most inspired by objects – buildings, interiors, patterns, and mostly shapes/forms. However, people’s stories are really inspirational too – I listen to heaps of inspirational people on YouTube while I work.

I’m inspired by nature, but am in no way able to imitate it – those first “birds” prove my point!!!

 

What is your favorite colour\texture to work with?

 I love working with naked clay (unglazed) which allows the clay to be the star – especially black clay from the UK.  

Where/How do you sell your work? I supply a few retailers – 

Zabecca Living, Tunstall Square, Doncaster 

Lily and the Weasel, Swan Street, Richmond

Crafter Interiors, Bridge Road, Richmond

Kristina Brenke Studio, Palm Beach, NSW

I’ve also done a few markets –Melbourne Design Market, Finders Keepers, Makers Market at Heide and The Warrandyte Pottery Expo.   

 

Do you have exhibitions/expos?

I have exhibited since 2010 - - images on my website tracymuirhead.com

 

What are some of the processes of your work?

I hand build using really simple techniques and basic tools – a giant rolling pin, a knife and a sponge are my best tools, oh an my hands!!

I love experimenting with how clay reacts in an electric kiln versus a gas kiln – the results are dramatically different – always such a thrill to open a kiln after a firing – like going to a lolly shop as a kid!!!

Most of my work is build using slabs of really thin clay and forming in or on a form – often a rock or ball of hard clay.  The challenge is to get the clay to be a thin as possible without it cracking and or distorting in the high temperatures (1280 degrees Celsius) of the glaze firing. 

I love the way that clay can surprise you and how shapes can just materialize if you let them and are not too prescriptive about what you’re trying to make – then the challenge is to try and replicate the shape or effect.  Often, the “mistakes” become the most unusual and desirable pieces.

 

What type of materials do you love to use and why?

 I love a variety of clays and will have at least 6 or 7 different types in my studio at all times – shock horror!!!!  Don’t tell my accountant!  

I also love using dried grasses or airplants and succulents, porcupine quills and African Slate or Spotted Gum and simple Aussie Pine to complete the setting of the piece.

 

 How long have you had your studio for? any wonderful details about your house?!

My studio has evolved from a small space in what was the Granny flat, to a beautiful (but too cluttered) space with a stunning view of the greenery and trees outside.  The light can be spectacular as the seasons change and it’s the coolest part of my house – so great to be there in summer!!!

 

Tracy M-22 copy.jpg