Artist Blog – Vivienne Hill

VIVIENNE lives and makes works in ceramic in Sydney, Australia at Experimental Studios.



From amidst the sydney northern beaches COVID cluster three days from Xmas the studio has gone quiet after attempting a market stall on a 42 degree morning and following up mid month with a pleasant evening open studios with the Arteliers collectors group where there was interesting talk about figures and life modelling. My series of figures from a few years ago have just about all left home so I thought perhaps it will be interesting to re discover a bit of figure making.


Garden pods project.

Colours are developing : teal, celadon green going towards greys. The garden destination has a moonlight palette of greens, stone, mosses, white flowers , and lavender growing nearby the proposed site. Looking at the calm of celadon and grey that compliments the lavender on site …

Tests are in the kiln queue…

The lily leaves coming out of the kilns bit by bit , some lustred , another five to come …


Garden pole pods project on the page

July: More lily dishes , stains and glazes, slip on slip off, in slip , no slip, sieve, spray. Pressed, supported, draped, pinched, coaxed. With foot, flat, more,less.

June and the little cones snuffed candles and rang a bell.

End of May 2020 and yes well covid19 made the Kilnit collaboration a reality in the golden age of soap exhibition. Approximately sixty soap dishes have been produced by the artists, each in keeping with their style.

Surface, light, shadow, and the pond called to me , offering Lilly pad leaves adrift. Their umbilical underwater connectivity seemed ever so apt in the circumstance of a pandemic.

Maybe about : more testing ( of course ) , more surfaces , and also about collaborations with the artists and members.

Surfaces keep arriving , a little bit different, a little bit developed, each kiln .

Carving and scratching , burnishing , marks making …

Tested: high firing J cast, Imperial porcelain, slips and slabs.

And now mid fire Lumina . Painting with stains, mold marking, keeping the light.

What’s in the mind :

Significance and insignificance ( how do we know the difference).

If what we do drives how we feel , how to be relaxed ( not wound up) about what we do.

If risk is necessary, and it is, then how come the risk isn’t obvious from the beginning.

Surfaces project 2019

Surfaces pushed their way into my focus when I realised that directly in front of my waiting spot on the platform was a beautiful ghost advert.

This urban-scape holds fifty years of industrial history in a click. The careful erasure of graffiti honouring the ghost.

Made surface images from the past can leave their print and perpetuate ideas long after their actual demise.

Sometimes the history is right there in a paint layer or colour, a crack, a spot, a drip, a scratch, a splatter …

Cafe opposite the TACA Triennale in Hobart 2019

Gift from Scott Duncan

Harris Farm 2018
The Henson, Marrickville

Review of my art diary photos from Italy and Japan and China and Vietnam a workshop day with Shannon Garson, extraordinary ceramic painter, and the project began itself …

Much as I enjoy making with other media, I use clay for these object based stories because it can reveal and capture an amount of history, and transform that to some sort of permanence…

Sea Wing project 2019

Having come across the magnificent Pen Shell also known as Sea Wing, Hoy Jawp, Fan Mussel, Jambonneau, Tairangai and more, and learning that humans across the oceans eat all parts and collect the small black pearls for decoration, as well as once in Mediterranean history , where they are most endangered, using the beard or byssa to spin finest possible fabric … and examining some on a Thai beach, these shells became my next metaphor for explaining humans attitudes of dominion.

Fine clay reproduced their subtle growth rings

and then their interior living space came into my focus and a series of castings and impressions ensued

Ideas around cosmetics and manufacturing were bubbling to the surface

As happens, more found offerings of sea creatures’ former dwellings came my way and I embarked on a path of recording them as pseudo fossils…

File 12-11-17, 5 23 06 pm

Project: Hard Surfaces 2018

I have been interested in this project to explore where a natural object’s brilliant adaptations are thwarted ….

Works in the ‘Hard Surface’ series so far include

  • imprints and castings of seed pods, in porcelain clay, glazed and unglazed,
  • languidlengthy porcelain surfaces cast from fallen palm trees, impressions left behind to play with the light ;
  • glazed clay reliefs of scattered seed, figs and plums as found squashed and smashed underfoot.

Exhibition activity 2017

‘Carry’ was an application made to the STILL exhibition 2017 at Coffs Harbour . It consisted of locally collected pods that I then slump cast in fine clay.

Studio 2017

Ceramic works in progress included the forms intended for future installation work, such as porcelain tree parts, open and seamed platters, slip cast seedpods and fruit and seed parts; and forms to wear.

Current work: The unwrapping of yard- constrained trees. Fallen palm trees give textured lengthy surfaces.

Developing work : Street fruit seems obliged to decorate windscreens. I am making direct Casts of the fruit forms. This work may be a reconstruction of the seasonal phenomenon in the city precinct whereby luscious harvests journey sticky and unappreciated, on resting vehicles. The Davison Plum and the Moreton Bay Fig proceed with their life regardless, and according to their inbuilt seasonal cycles…what are they doing and being?

Suburban bush, where bark stripping giants drop their skins unbidden and suddenly, dressing the ground and exposing their blatant scents and ochre colours …it must be April … trip hazards … exposed trunks hold on to their patches as if modest … what becomes of the bark that can’t feed the soil?

Exhibition 2016

At the Inner City Clayworkers Gallery , Group exhibition with fellow artists from Experimental Ceramics included large ( wobbly fish) and small sculptures related to the experiences of sea creatures.
Example artist’s statement
“ P: poisonous fish”- home sea series exhibit, by Vivienne Hill 2016

The artist has long mused upon past and current discourses of the sea and its inhabitants. That man consistently described, categorised, and catalogued creatures of astounding adaptation, according only to man’s own infinitesimal experience, perpetuated man’s ignorance through human generations, all the way to the untenable position man currently occupies on this planet.

This series celebrates myriad sea creatures that defend and display by rapidly filling their body cavity four fold with water, and take up to half a day to deflate,exhausted. Their beaks aiding their feeding on overgrown sea urchins, they are an unheralded defence of the youngest corals of places, even such as Port Jackson near the Heads.


The bobbing, wobbly, unwieldy forms that the bloating technique achieves, is attempted here, kiln fired and hand built by coiling in clays, sprayed, dipped and painted slips and glazes.

Felted soft sculptures for private commissions, including interpretations of dinosaurs.
Workshops delivered privately: Included ‘open’ scarfs, blankets and ‘closed’ vessels or baskets. Textile works include vessels, lengths, and soft sculpture.

Life drawing, drawing technique classes, and member of drawing groups and watercolour painting groups. Thanks to drawing teacher Alex.

1990 to 2013
Several learning courses were taken at a variety of art centres and residential workshops. Included

  • ceramic inlay technique
  • drawing
  • painting acrylics
  • painting watercolours
  • glass bead making and glass slumping
  • basketry and fabric dyeing with plants
  • hand building ceramics, pottery and glaze making.

My first ceramics experience was as an Art major at teachers college in NZ, where we were issued with a shovel and bucket each and pointed to a clay hillside and I learned about clay aromas, and the meditative qualities of processing. Across the decades my thanks to tutors at Pine St CAC, Kuring-gai AC, Willoughby AC, Sturt Winter school, and currently Ceramics.

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