Artist shuns galleries
PRODUCING beautiful and wistful ceramic creations is what Maleny artist Shannon Garson does best.
Garson, 39, who has been making ceramics for more than 20 years, began her career as a painter but realised early that she wanted to be involved in creating something more than just a drawing.
"I never really wanted to show my art in galleries," she said.
"I wanted to make things for people's homes. I think that is where art is at its most powerful and intimate - when it's part of what makes up someone's home."
After completing her Bachelor in Visual Arts at Queensland University of Technology in 1993, Garson began decorating for Brisbane art gallery, Amfora.
There, she met and started decorating for Clare Laurence, a ceramicist, who became a catalyst for Garson to start her own clay passion.
"I started working with Clare and she was just such an inspiration," Garson said. "I was decorating her ceramics, and very early on I decided I wanted to make fine, white translucent work myself."
Garson then started throwing (the process of shaping the clay) her own pieces which soon became "canvases" for her artistic paintings.
She takes 16 steps to complete one of her designs, from drawing the anticipated outcome, to throwing, and finally decorating the end product.
The fledgling artist spent time travelling Europe and exploring art history in France, Spain and Italy, which helped develop her work.
In 2003, Garson won the Josephine Ulkrick Award for Excellence at the Gold Coast International Ceramic Awards, and has continually wowed people with her collection of pieces ever since. Her latest adventure is completing a Masters in Visual Arts, majoring in ceramics.
She said the reason for returning to study was to push herself and to keep developing as an artist.
"When you work in the studio, you don't have a lot of contact, and there is no one there to push you further," she said. "But when you work with other people, they are constantly questioning ways to develop your work, and it really takes you out of your comfort zone."
Garson is also working on a collection to reflect the Wallum swamp area under development in the Noosa-Maroochy region.
"A lot of development is happening in this area and most people don't actually realise that it's a really diverse and beautiful eco-system," she said.
Once a year, Garson opens her studio to the public so that they can see where she works and get a feel for the life of an artist.
"One of the reasons that I like to open my gallery every year is that you get to let people in and see what artists actually do," she said.
"People get to realise that artists are people who actually make these things from scratch right in their own home."
One of the reasons that I like to open my gallery every year is that you get to let people in and see what artists actually do.