Design Files - Creative People by Grace Brown

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As ceramicist Grace Brown was developing her Oh Hey Grace!. range for TDF Open House, she became enthralled by architect Ricardo Bofill’s dreamy ‘La Muralla Roja’ housing project – Google away, you won’t be impervious either! ‘The labyrinth-like buildings include layers of geometric stairwells, sharp lines, vivid colours and winding thoroughfares and archways – all of which have inspired my work and design style,’ she muses.

Fuelled by this unforgettable inspiration, the Northcote-based creative has used mid-fire white raku clay, and combined wheel throwing, deconstructing and hand building techniques to fashion a suite of functional, yet distinctively sculptural wares. ‘They are energetic and lively, paying homage to the Bauhaus and Memphis design movements through contrasting curves and often playful forms, with rigid sharp lines and an emphasis on architectural influence,’ tells Grace.

Though they bear a semblance to the vessels of the ceramicist’s break-out group exhibition at Jacky Winter Group’s Lamington Drive earlier in the year, the 28-year-old feels her output is starting to become more modular. ‘My newest range is clean, crisp and heavily focused on sculptural form, rather than the pattern and print of my past work,’ she explains, crediting the crisp natural white glaze as well as the natural texture of the clay for allowing her ‘forms to speak for themselves’.

TDF Open House isn’t quite as expansive as Bofill’s iconic dwelling (this year!), but Grace is thrilled to be in the line-up alongside so many other talented makers and creatives. ‘I’m looking forward to seeing the range and all the silhouettes together within the space,’ says Grace. ‘It’s just so valuable to be able to share my work alongside a range of amazing artists and designers who I respect and admire.’

Original story published:

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Cooked Exhibition - Lamington Drive by Grace Brown

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"Cooked brings together 8 contemporary artists producing ceramic objects with an illustrative, graphic style. The works range from small scale structures with finely rendered graphic detail, layered assemblages and wall-based reliefs to painterly large-scale vessels and humorous reproductions of utilitarian objects. Along with their ceramic practice, a number of the artists pursue other artistic disciplines – writing, drawing, painting, collage, architecture and sculpture – which further informs their work. Many of the pieces incorporate some aspect of cross-media experimentation which sees foreign elements and materials like glass beads, wood or paper being incorporated in the pieces." - Lamington Drive

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The Creators Project // VICE by Grace Brown

"Grace Brown's Distinctly Australian Ceramics Are Relaxed, Playful and a Little Bit Odd

Katherine Gillespie — Jun 20 2016

Promoting her kiln-fired creations through Instagram account Oh Hey Grace, Melbourne's Grace Brown has made a name for herself as a part of Australia's thriving contemporary ceramics scene. Life is incredibly busy for the former fashion designer, who earlier this year was commissioned to create an exclusive range of clay forms for the National Gallery of Victoria’s store. Alongside the likes of Jessilla Rogers, she’s injecting youthful energy into a sometimes-stodgy artistic discipline. Her bold aesthetic utilises vibrantly coloured gloss glazes to create bright, extravagantly patterned surfaces.

Speaking to The Creator's Project, the friendly creative explains how Oh Hey Grace evolved almost accidentally from a part time hobby. “I started it as a weird thing I do on weekends, but people have been amazingly supportive and everything happened very naturally,” she says.

Brown uses a combination of handbuilding and wheel thrown pieces in her practice. “When I’m hand building I love to use porcelain as it's so delicate and fires so beautifully,” she says. “I also love to use white Raku and contrasting that with warm stone coloured clays.”

Much of her work is influenced by architectural elements from the Bauhaus and Memphis design movements, illustrations by Ettore Sottsass and architects like Luis Barragan and Ricardo Bofill. “Forms with sharp lines, bold colours and lots of negative space.”

Her background in fashion comes into it too. “I find I’m influenced a lot by wild patterns and print in fabrics or textiles,” she says. “It changes so often, and not long ago I was completely obsessed with making fried chicken ceramic decanters and surfaces to plate up jelly and cake sculptures.”  

What's striking about the ceramics coming out of Melbourne right now is their geographically-centred idiosyncrasies, and Brown's work in particular is representative of this. “I think what makes Australian ceramics so interesting is the huge amount of influences in people's work,” Brown says. “Rather than keeping to one particular style I see a lot of people merging styles and techniques to create some really interesting pieces with patterns referencing Australiana imagery or colours. There are some incredibly exciting ceramics coming out of Australia right now."

Some of that  Australiana “comes from muted washed our sandy tones...think The Triffids’Wide Open Road.”  You’ll also see “glimpses of Ken Done” in the bursts of colour and spiralling surface designs.

“I also feel Australian ceramics are relaxed and made to be used and enjoyed with a playful attitude,” Brown explains. “Maybe embracing a chip here or there, rather than being locked up behind glass doors.”  

You can find out more about Grace Brown here and follow Oh Hey Grace on Instagram." 

For the full interview visit here!

Oh Hey Grace in The Sunday Age Home Style Magazine by Grace Brown

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Thrilled to be featured in the Sunday Age Home Style Magazine over the weekend…the article featured in 'Editor’s picks’ talks about my exclusive ceramic range at the NGV as part of the 18th Century Porcelain sculpture exhibition. So thankful for such a beautiful write up; if you have a chance, check out the range in the design store and also visit the amazing exhibition as well as some inspiring work by Andy Warhol and Ai WeiWei!

"TRACKING TALENT - by Veronica Ridge

The National Gallery of Victoria's initiative commissioning local makers who take inspiration from its collection has unearthed some terrific talent. Grace Brown, a Melbourne-based ceramicist with a background in fashion design, has drawn on a range of antiquities and postmodern furniture.

The result is fresh, glossy white raku clay utensils and ornaments with highlights in pastel blues, pinks and a pop of navy blue.

The range deserves applause for its bold and energetic vibe that pays homage to the Bauhaus and Memphis design movements through strong geometry and contrasting curved and rigid lines, as well as an emphasis on wild pattern and texture.

Oh Hey Grace at the NGV Design Store - 2016 by Grace Brown

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Installation and display of Oh Hey Grace ceramics at the NGV design store! The collection features bowls, cups, large and small vases and small salt dishes. All of the pieces have been hand built and painted with reference to various pieces in the NGV's permanant collection. Featuring fresh bursts of colours against fresh creamy white raku and 3D hand built features creating a textural feel for the user. 

Inspired by a range of items within the permanent collection; from ancient stone relics and Egyptian hieroglyphics, to postmodern furniture and the decorative arts of the 1980’s, specifically Ettore Sottsass’ ‘Carlton Room Divider’, and Frank O’Gehry’s 1972 ‘Wiggle Side Chair’. The collection palette of fresh glossy white raku clay with pastel blues, pinks and a pop of navy blue are influenced by Pat Brassington’s soft tones in his digital print ‘Voicing’ and Bradd Westmoreland’s ‘Blue circle and square’ painting. The designs are bold and energetic, paying homage to the Bauhaus and Memphis design movements through strong geometry, contrasting curved and rigid lines as well as an emphasis on wild pattern and texture.

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