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Turn Turn Turn: The studio ceramics tradition

at the National Art School


alana wilson, artist, turn turn turn, ceramics, sydney, australia, national art school

Turn Turn Turn

The studio ceramics tradition at the National Art School


TURN TURN TURN celebrated more than 60 years of the renowned ceramics course at the National Art School. The teaching of ceramics is an important part of inter-generational influence, and in Australia the NAS Ceramics department has a history of outstanding creativity.


The exhibition had a focus group of twelve artists whose work represents a diversity of ceramics production at NAS, and by NAS graduates, across more than six decades of education and creative production.


In addition to this was a show-within-a-show of works drawn from private and public collections, including a major representation from the NAS Collection and the Ceramics teaching collection. It featured works by over 50 artists who have studied or been associated with the School.

The exhibition's primary philosophical and curatorial drive was to track the shift from an emphasis on Japanese and English studio traditions, as articulated by Bernard Leach in his seminal publication A Potter’s Book, through to the early 21st century 'anything goes', horizontal approach to ceramics practice. Implicit in this shift is a change of emphasis from wheel-formed work to the hand-built, from singular to assembled works and the rise of community-based practice and technological advances in kiln production that have increased access to facilities.  Curated by Glenn Barkley, TURN TURN TURN was not a definitive history but rather a loose delineation of ceramics practice. It came at an important time as ceramics is currently undergoing a form of interrogation and invigoration.   

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