Dr Rebecca Coates

Dr Rebecca Coates

Opening Keynote Address

Rebecca Coates is the director of Shepparton Art Museum. Located in regional Victoria, SAM is recognised for its significant collection of Australian ceramics, notable historic works, and a growing collection of outstanding contemporary Australian art by Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists.  Rebecca is an established curator, writer and lecturer, with over 25 years professional art museum and gallery experience in both Australia and overseas. She has a PhD in Art History and was previously a Lecturer at the University of Melbourne in Art History and Art Curatorship, where she is an Honorary Fellow. She speaks and writes regularly on contemporary art and theory, curatorial practice, and art in the public realm, and sits on a number of advisory boards.

Website: Shepparton Art Museum

Image: Dr Rebecca Coates in front of Angelina Gorge’s painting in SAM collection

Sergei Isupov

Sergei Isupov

Presenter / Demonstrator / Philosophy Cafe

My work portrays characters placed in situations that are drawn from my imagination but based on my life experiences. My art works capture a composite of fleeting moments, hand gestures, eye movements that follow and reveal the sentiments expressed. These details are all derived from actual observations but are gathered or collected over my lifetime. Through the drawn images and sculpted forms, I capture faces, body types and use symbolic elements to compose, in the same way as you might create a collage. These ideas drift and migrate throughout my work without direct regard to specific individuals, chronology or geography. Universalism is implied and personal interpretation expected. Through my work I get to report about and explore human encounters, comment on the relationships between man and woman, and eventually their sexual union that leads to the final outcome – the passing on of DNA which is the ultimate collection – a combined set of genes and a new life, represented in the child. Everything that surrounds and excites me is automatically processed and transformed into…an artwork.

The essence of my work is not in the medium or the creative process, but in the human beings and their incredible diversity. When I think of myself and my works, I’m not sure I create them, perhaps they create me.

Website: Sergei Isupov

Image: Reflection 2007 – 14 (2014), porcelain, slip, glaze. 10 x 14 x 5″

Yasmin Smith

Yasmin Smith

Presenter / Demonstrator / Special Project

(b. 1984, Sydney and Itinerant) travels widely undertaking research for her archaeological ceramics installations that explore the chemistry of glaze techniques to furnish material evidence of histories, ecologies, geology and culture. She makes her glazes from organic and inorganic material found on site with elements of the clay body sometimes also locally excavated as part of her process. Smith’s practice straddles art (ceramics) and more scientific investigations.

Smith is currently developing a site-specific work for the 21st Biennale of Sydney.

Smith was a finalist in the 2017 Sidney Myer Fund Australian Ceramic Award exhibition at Shepparton Art Museum. Her work, Open Vase Central Leader Widow Maker, contains over 150 cast ceramic branches of three species of tree that have been glazed with their own wood ash. 

In 2016, Smith developed site-specific clay and glazes and built an outdoor kiln for the inaugural, Sculpture at Barangaroo, Sydney. Contours of our heart was a two-week process based outdoor public engagement project.

In 2014, Smith spent 6 weeks at Hermannsburg in Central Australia assisting the local community of potters. As a result of her time there, Smith developed Ntaria Fence for a solo exhibition at The Commercial in 2015.

In 2013, Smith was shortlisted for the Fauvette Loureiro Memorial Artists’ Travel Scholarship Prize, Sydney College of the Arts, Sydney.

Smith completed her Master of Visual Arts (Ceramics) at Sydney College of the Arts, the University of Sydney in 2010. She was a director of the influential Sydney artist-run initiative, Locksmith Project from 2008 until 2010.

Smith is represented by The Commercial Sydney. 

Her work is in the collection of Artbank and Shepparton Art Museum.

Website: The Commercial Gallery

Image: Open Vase Central Leader Widow Maker (2017), slip cast ceramic objects, with three types of wood ash glaze, corrugated iron, canvas tarpaulin, dimensions variable

Image Credit: Elise Fredericksen

Amy Kennedy

Amy Kennedy

Presenter / Panelist

‘In my works, fine paper-thin leaves of glaze material are assembled to form layered objects. Working with delicacy and movement, I use the flowing layers like the opening pages of a book or fluttering piles of fabric to create a windblown or whirlpool effect. Energy and movement is assisted by the gentle softening that occurs during the firing process, giving sculptures the capacity to hover, tilt or extend, as if once animated.’

Amy Kennedy is a ceramic artist based in Melbourne. Her work is guided by the development of unique materials and processes. She is driven by a sense of wonder and curiosity in natural phenomena and endeavors to capture these qualities in her works.

Amy graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (Fine Art) Honours from RMIT University in 2006, having previously completed a Diploma of Ceramics at Box Hill Institute of TAFE. Her career highlights include being awarded residencies at Baer Art Center Iceland, Anderson Ranch Arts Centre, Colorado USA, and the European Ceramic Work Centre in The Netherlands. In 2015 she was awarded first prize in the Toorak Village Sculpture Exhibition and in 2013 a New Work Grant by the Australia Council for the Arts. Her work has been exhibited in group exhibitions nationally, including Return to Beauty, Edwina Corlette Gallery Brisbane (2016), Quiet Conversations, Skepsi Gallery (2014) and An Important Exhibition of Australian Ceramics: A Tribute to Janet Mansfield at Mossgreen Gallery, Melbourne (2014). Her work is held in the collections of the Art Gallery of South Australia, Bendigo Art Gallery, Warrnambool Art Gallery and the European Ceramic Work Centre.

Website: Amy Kennedy Ceramics

Image: Baer (2017) Image Credit: Christopher Sanders


Peter Hughes

Peter Hughes


Peter Hughes was appointed as the first full-time curator of decorative arts at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery in 1999. He graduated with a Master’s Degree (Research) in Art Theory from the Australian National University in 1995 with a thesis exploring the links between the English nineteenth century art critic, John Ruskin’s writing about architecture, ornament and design and ecological theory. Ornamentation remains one of Peter’s research interests along with Tasmanian colonial decorative arts, Australian decorative arts and identity, design and ecological theory, and contemporary ‘thing’ theory. Peter’s current projects include a history of Tasmanian colonial-period furniture 1804 – 1860 to be published as a book by the museum, the life and work of the Tasmanian mid-20th century potter, Violet Mace and proposed new exhibitions for the TMAG art and design galleries. Peter has curated numerous exhibitions at TMAG, including the 2012 Redevelopment Art and Design exhibitions in the Hunter Galleries and Our Changing Land; Making Tasmania in the Bond Store One Gallery. In 2015 he curated Things I Once Knew: the Art of Patrick Hall, the artist’s first retrospective and, most recently, Prospero’s Library as part of the Tempest exhibition in 2016.

Website: Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery


David Ray

David Ray

In conversation with Kevin Murray / Demonstrator

David’s ceramics have built a reputation for being wild and flamboyant Baroque creations. Conceptually, the creations explore function and dysfunction within our consumeristic society. The handmade is an idealistic idea he holds dear within his making process. Decoration is incorporated within the body of the work; weaving, twisting and turning, with a confounding plethora of images and motifs. He believes life is a juxtaposition between the perception of the beautiful and the ugly, which creates a subjective perception towards making and looking at Art itself.

David Ray retired from RMIT University in 1996 with Honours and his work is held in Australian and international collections. He has held numerous Artist in Residence placements and he lists that Liverpool (U.K.) was his most ‘mind-bending’. Various publications and articles have been written about his work. He comes up when Googled!

Terrible at self-promotion, David prefers making in his studio in the Yarra Valley, Victoria and continuing to exhibit within both realms of the ‘Art’ and ‘Craft’ worlds. He is a trained secondary teacher, specialising in trauma informed practice, with 15 years experience in this field. He says “time is precious, but teaching and making both provide a balance within my life”.

Website: David Ray

Image: Wild (2017), handbuilt earthenware, decal, enamel gold, 48 x 40 x 36 cm

Winner of the 2017 Manningham Victorian Ceramic Art Award

Image Credit: Shannon McGrath

Kenji Uranishi

Kenji Uranishi

Presenter / Demonstrator

Kenji Uranishi is an Australian-based, Japanese artist who explores ideas around nature and the built environment, place and belonging. Kenji studied at the Nara College of Fine Arts and began his career in Japan working mostly with stoneware clay. A move to Australia in 2004 signalled a critical shift in his practice as he began working predominantly with porcelain, hand building translucent white, often architecturally inspired objects. A turning point came in 2014 when he received an Asialink residency (funded by Arts Queensland) to spend 12 weeks in Arita in Kyushu – a place many consider to be the birthplace of porcelain in Japan. During that time, Kenji worked with local craftspeople, designers and artists to explore new directions in his ceramic practice, including with a master mould maker who shared the techniques of his craft. Returning to Australia, Kenji continued to explore this process and began hand-carving moulds for slip casting to construct and expand modular forms. He first showed the results of this work, in combination with slab-built sculptural pieces, in his 2016 solo exhibition at the Museum of Brisbane, Momentary. Comprising 50 sculptures, the installation captured Kenji’s interest in the wild and unfamiliar aspects of the Australian environment, and the light and patterns in architecture, nature and everyday life. Kenji’s artworks are held in a number of public collections including the National Gallery of Australia, and feature in public spaces including 400 George Street, Brisbane and the Ipswich Courthouse, Queensland. During 2018, he was undertaking three new public art projects. Kenji lives and works in Brisbane.

Website: Kenji Uranishi

Image: Danpen X (2018), slipcast porcelain, 5 x 34 x 34cm

Elisa Helland-Hansen

Elisa Helland-Hansen

Presenter / Demonstrator

Elisa Helland-Hansen is a Norwegian studio potter based in Rosendal by the Hardangerfjord in western Norway. She was trained at the Bergen National College for Arts and Design in the 1970s, and has worked as a full-time potter making utilitarian work since then. She was head of the department and a professor at HDK – University of Gothenburg, in Sweden for five years, has traveled extensively, and exhibits nationally and internationally.

Website: Elisa Helland-Hansen

Image: Porcelain cups (2016), reduction fired to cone 10, 10 cm H x 10.5 cm W

photograph courtesy of the artist

Alicja Patanowska

Alicja Patanowska


In her artistic practice, Alicja Patanowska combines glass with porcelain, and visual arts with designing, always aiming to engage the audience.

What is characteristic of her art is the recurrent topic of waste.

She considers craft skills to be crucial for her artistic practice as she designs and learns through the making process.

She graduated from the Royal College of Art in London (2014) and the Academy of Fine Arts in Wrocław (2012). Her products are available in many places, including Merci in Paris, London’s Barbican and New York’s MoMA. The laureate of a number of awards, such as Gazeta Wyborcza’s WARTO (2017), must have!, (2016), British Glass Biennial (2015), her works also form a part of several art and design collections, one of which belongs to the Shanghai Museum of Glass.

Website: Alicja Patanowska

Image: Of Mice and Men (2016), porcelain, taxidermia

photographer: Alicja Kielan

Dr Damon Moon

Dr Damon Moon

Moderator: Meeting the Market / Philosophy Cafe

Dr. Damon Moon is currently Creative Director of the ceramics studio at JamFactory Contemporary Craft and Design in Adelaide, South Australia and an Adjunct Researcher in the School of Creative Arts at the University of Tasmania.

His role at the JamFactory encompasses the design and production of tableware as part of the JamFactory product range and bespoke commissions for private and corporate clients, as well as mentoring up to six trainees who are undertaking the two-year JamFactory associate training program.

Damon Moon is also one of Australia’s most prolific commentators on contemporary and historic ceramics, with over fifty published articles, catalogue essays and he has contributed to several major publications, including co-authoring the 2014 SALA monograph ‘Beyond Bravura’ on Stephen Bowers for Wakefield Press.

Damon’s own practice as a maker sees him straddle the worlds of art, craft and design. In 2018 he is showing work in Milan as part of the 5 Vie ART + DESIGN WEEK series during the Milan Design Fair, and is exhibiting his own work in response to the collections of Shepparton Art Museum, Bendigo Art Gallery and the La Trobe Art Institute.

In May 2019 Damon is curating ‘Manifest’, the Australian Ceramics Association biennial exhibition as part of Holding Space/Making Place, the 2019 Australian Ceramics Triennale in Hobart, Tasmania.

Websites:  Jam Factory, Damon Moon


Anna-Marie Wallace

Anna-Marie Wallace

Presenter / Panelist / Demonstrator

Anna-Marie Wallace is a British born, Australian artist of Italian & Scottish heritage. She is an Industrial Designer turned Ceramicist, who began her short but avid foray into the world of clay in 2012 with Made OF Australia, a saggar firing business whose art, jewellery, & tableware are coveted by retailers, galleries, stylists, photographers, high end restaurants, & renowned chefs globally.

She introduced Liquid Quartz to the ceramic arts market in 2015, after years of research & development into finding a solution to the age old issue of food safety & unglazed surfaces. She openly discusses & shares the technology used to make her pieces food safe, with the hope of allowing others to expand their alternative firing ceramic practices too. She is an outspoken advocate for the death of “starving artist” syndrome, & runs workshops, mentorship programmes, & internships to teach others how to market & sell their art, as well as run a sustainable, & profitable, arts based practice.

She works solely with Australian clays, native flora, & waste from Indigenous fauna (Pandanus, Macadamia, Bunya, Magpie Goose feathers, Crocodile eggshell, Koala scat, Dugong seagrass, & calcified seaweeds & corals to name a few), foraged in her local area or sent in by friends from The Northern Territory to Tasmania. The unpredictable & unrepeatable finish of each piece tells a unique story of origins & process. Her creations pay homage to all that was destroyed to create them; they are pieces OF Australia, each as individual as you are.

Website: Made OF Australia

Image: Minimalist Plate (28cm); Australian Porcelain Saggar Fired with Pandanus, Macadamia, Dugong Seagrass, & Crocodile Eggshell (Range produced 2016-2018) Tiger Myrtle hand carved spoon also by the artist.

Image Credit: Michelle Eabry

Dr Jeff Malpas

Dr Jeff Malpas

Keynote Address / Philosophy Cafe

Jeff Malpas is Distinguished Professor at the University of Tasmania and Visiting Distinguished Professor at Latrobe University. He was founder, and until 2005, Director, of the University of Tasmania’s Centre for Applied Philosophy and Ethics. He is the author or editor of 21 books with some of the world’s leading academic presses, and has published over 100 scholarly articles on topics in philosophy, art, architecture, and geography.

His work is grounded in post-Kantian thought, especially the hermeneutical and phenomenological traditions, as well as in analytic philosophy of language and mind, and draws on the thinking of a diverse range of thinkers including, most notably, Albert Camus, Donald Davidson, Martin Heidegger, and Hans-Georg Gadamer. He is currently working on topics including the ethics of place, the failing character of governance, the materiality of memory, the topological character of hermeneutics, the place of art, and the relation between place, boundary, and surface.

Website: Jeff Malpas


Alice Couttoupes

Alice Couttoupes

Pannelist / Demonstrator / Special Project

My practice is based primarily in working with clay, both its vitrified and raw state. The focus of my work revolves around an exploration of the sociocultural and political ideas around our interaction with nature. I am interested in the categorisations and systems of meaning that are applied to nature, processes of cultural exchange and appropriation, authenticity, ideas of place, belonging, materiality, object-hood, and notions of identity, particularly within the Australian context.

Website: Alice Couttoupes

My Blue China, porcelain, cobalt glaze, 40cm diameter x 10cm, 2018

Shane Kent

Shane Kent

Presenter: Future Education / Philosophy Cafe

Shane Kent trained as a potter in Japan and Australia before completing a Bachelor of Fine Art (Ceramics), post-graduate studies in sculpture and education, and a Masters in Drawing. He taught the Diploma of Art (Ceramics) at Box Hill TAFE from 1989-2011.  He has been exhibiting in Melbourne since 1985, most recently at Australian Galleries.  Since 2011 he has undertaken major ceramic commissions through design studio Projects of Imagination for custom tableware, lighting, bespoke tiles and artwork.

Shane has a deep interest in explanations of creative processes, which he continues to explore in his own practice and his teaching.    Both the studio environment at SoCA and his approach to teaching are informed by an intention to inspire and nurture creative emergence, open up ways of seeing, bring awareness to creative processes and foster the independence necessary to a sustainable art practice.

Website: SoCA


Neville Assad-Salha

Neville Assad-Salha

Demonstrator / Philosophy Cafe

Neville Assad-Salha studied at the South Australian School of Art from 1973 to 1976.

He has been a practising ceramist/ potter for over 40 years.

He has held many solo exhibitions and group shows.

Neville taught ceramics at many universities in Melbourne and Adelaide.

He is a former professor at the University of Beirut.

He has attended many international symposiums.

Neville lives between South Australia and Lebanon.

Dr Kevin Murray

Dr Kevin Murray

In conversation with David Ray / Philosophy Cafe

Dr Kevin Murray is an independent writer and curator, Adjunct Professor at RMIT University and Research Fellow at the University of Melbourne. Major current roles are managing editor for Garland Magazine and the Online Encyclopedia of Crafts in the Asia Pacific Region. In 2000-2007 he was Director of Craft Victoria where he developed the Scarf Festival and the South Project, a four-year program of exchange involving Melbourne, Wellington, Santiago and Johannesburg.  He has curated many exhibitions, including ‘Signs of Change: Jewellery Designed for a Better World’;  ‘The World of Small Things’; ‘Symmetry: Crafts Meet Kindred Trades and Professions’; ‘Water Medicine: Precious Works for an Arid Continent’; ‘Guild Unlimited: Ten Jewellers Make Insignia for Potential Guilds’; ‘Seven Sisters: Fibre Works from the West’;  ‘Common Goods: Cultures Meet through Craft’ for the 2006 Commonwealth Games and Joyaviva: Live Jewellery Across the Pacific that toured Latin America.  His books include Judgement of Paris: Recent French Thought in an Australian Context (Allen & Unwin, 1991), Craft Unbound: Make the Common Precious (Thames & Hudson, 2005) and with Damian Skinner, Place and Adornment: A History of Contemporary Jewellery in Australia and New Zealand (Bateman, 2014). He is currently a Senionr Vice-President of the World Craft Council Asia Pacific Region, coordinator of Southern Perspectives and Sangam: A Platform for Craft-Design Parnerships. He teaches at RMIT University, the University of Melbourne, Swinburne University and University of New South Wales.

Website: Kevin Murray