The age, Life and Style, ‘True to Nature’s Form’ Gina Morris, July 2nd, 2011

The Art of Hollow Ware

Katherine Wheeler's Amoeboid Teapot.

Katherine Wheeler’s Amoeboid Teapot. Photo: Rodger Cummins

KATHERINE Wheeler is an artist motivated by simple things. A piece of textured rock, a beautifully shaped teapot, lichen growing on a tree branch or weeds sprouting from concrete. Mostly, though, the motivation for her jewellery and hollowware comes from the simple, pure pleasure of ”making”.

”I just enjoy it,” Wheeler says. ”The thrill of changing pristine and mundane mediums into something totally unique and pushing different ideas or methods keeps me interested in making work.”
Her beguiling and spectral pieces, made predominantly from metal melded with porcelain and crochet thread, reflect and explore what she calls ”the fragility and ephemeral nature of life, mortality and the cycle of life”. Her hollowware, while alluding to the notion of a functional vessel such as a vase or a teapot, often references extinct marine life and intricate, ancient fossils.

Katherine Wheeler in her studio.
Katherine Wheeler in her studio.Photo: Rodger Cummins

”The forms I make have an anthropomorphic nature,” Wheeler says.
”The textures and characteristics remind the viewer of the amazing creatures we share an existence with.”
In nominating the one item she is most proud of, Wheeler elects herAmoeboid Teapot from 2009. ”It was shown at Galerie Marzee in the Netherlands and then purchased by the director, Marie-Jose van den Hout, for their permanent collection,” she says. ”To me, it demonstrated that my work has the capacity and standard to be valued internationally.”
Though her sculptural objects are intended for ornamental enjoyment, much of her jewellery is designed for daily use. She is now producing an even more practical, functional and ”fun” range of porcelain jewellery (as well as a series of small bowls). Though she aims to keep the two separate, last year she co-founded Goldenink Collaborative with her friend, artist and printmaker Abby Seymour, to forge one-off pieces of ”wearable art”.
Since discovering silversmithing in 2004 and mastering ”the language” of soldering metal (her lecturer’s term), Wheeler has continued along a devious path of spontaneity. ”There is a real kind of preciousness about planning, technique and doing things the ‘right’ way in gold and silversmithing,” she says. ”Which I respect but once I realised that it was OK for me to ‘break the rules’, I felt much more freedom.”
?For commissions and inquiries, see katherinewheeler.com.au.

 

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Compiled by Jasmijn Verlinden, TL magazine, issue #11,

July 2011

Fetish-like objects and nature inspired conceptual pieces have replaced diamonds as a girl’s best friend. Finding inspiration at the Collect fair in London and at online community Klimt02, tl.mag presents a selection of favourite contemporary jewellery designers.”