Dawn Beasley ✿ On a slow boat to Jingdezhen


12 October 2020

Dawn Beasley, Tentorium Ubera (2018-19), porcelain and synthetic fibre, 105cm x 500cm wall hung installation

Dawn Beasley has just been awarded a Churchill Fellowship to take up a ceramics residency studio in Jingdezhen, following a path worn by many successful foreign artists.

Dawn Beasley tells her story…

I am an English born Australian artist working predominantly in porcelain. I live and work in Darwin in the tropical north of Australia and use the native flora as the starting point to inspire my work. I hold an honours degree in Fine Art painting and worked as an artist and art educator in the UK, Botswana and Malaysia before emigrating to Australia in 2006 where my practice moved from paint to clay.

Introduced to porcelain by the Australian ceramicist Juz Kitson, I’ve become obsessed by the possibilities and limitations offered by this medium, and increasingly my work focuses on the creation of multiple botanically inspired elements with a narrative of growth and survival. My practice enables me to combine my fascination with nature’s resilience with an intrinsic need to create. Porcelain is my passion.

I am excited to be a recipient of The Bob and June Prickett Churchill Fellowship in the field of visual arts and to expand my knowledge and experience as a porcelain artist. I intend to research the use of traditional porcelain processes to inform contemporary art practice by undertaking a residency at The Pottery Workshop in Jingdezhen; the ‘Porcelain Capital’ of the world and home to over 30,000 highly skilled local artists with traditional expertise passed down for generations.

Dawn Beasley in the studio

There are also dozens of renowned international artists who keep studios in Jingdezhen in which they further their contemporary art practice. Their work often relies on the expertise of the local craftspeople and they base themselves in Jingdezhen to avail themselves to expertise and knowledge to inform their practice.

Considering the current travel restrictions and global health and safety concerns, the trust has given me an extended period of time to undertake my project. While I wait to travel, I am continuing in the development of my own art practice whilst making the most of the opportunity to establish and build international relationships virtually, and also connecting and networking with other fellows across Australia.

I am hopeful that my project can be completed before the next Australian Ceramics Triennale which will be held in Alice Springs in 2022 so that I can present my research to the Australian ceramics community and exhibit the work informed by my Fellowship experience. The opportunity to pass on the results of my research and share information that can add to the development of other artists is an important part of the process. Fellowships are intended to lead to an enrichment of skills and knowledge for the greater art community not just that of the recipient.

To find out more about Dawn, visit her website: www.dawnbeasley.com/

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  • Chris Haley says:

    It will be interesting to see what you can develop in Jingdezhen when you finally arrive there. There is much to see from the markets to occasional demonstrations in the “factories”. We only had two days there and that is not sufficient to get a real handle on the city and its ceramic development in recent times.
    Hope that you enjoy your visit!