Larissa Warren | Episode 376
Australian ceramist Larissa Warren has her own unique approach to clay. With a passion for traditional Japanese neriage techniques, Larissa creates some engaging surfaces. Working with translucent porcelain, she utilises plaster moulds and incredibly thin slip casting techniques and combines a variety of coloured clays and rocks, such as trachyte, with elaborate mixed clay pattern blocks.
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How do you measure success as a ceramist?
Something my father said to me recently because things for me have been going rather quickly in the last couple of years. He said to me, It’s funny with success, the harder I work the luckier I get. I really, really agreed with that at the time because I work really hard and the harder I work the more success I have. Teaching in Australia is a fantastic income for employment and I don’t want to leave teaching. So I feel like success comes from my personal achievements and I am slowly getting there.
How long did it take for you to become an overnight success?
I don’t think I’m a success yet. (laughter)
I ask that because you mentioned that have been getting a lot more recognition in the last few years.
I think you have got to get yourself out there. You have to get on a plane and visit galleries and take your pieces to people. You have to email, call people, you even visit the clay manufacturers and introduce yourself. You have got to do it. You have got to make your own success. So, yeah, nothing has been overnight. I have worked quite a lot behind the scenes.
I see your work as captured chaos. How do you get a vision to create your work?
I think I have just captured my life in that little bit. Someone described my work as a riot going off in there, and you said chaos, and I really like those descriptions. I feel like so much is going on and I like the idea of capturing it. When I am working with a younger group and they are mixing colors I say to them, Just be careful what you do here with the colors, you don’t want to have a rainbow vomiting on the page. And yet if you look at my work, especially my latest work, there is rainbow vomit everywhere. I think the only thing that makes it OK is that I have it captured on smooth porcelain with dabs of vomit. So yeah, don’t do as I do.
Where do you find inspiration for your work?
Texture is a huge thing. You know when you write artist’s statements when you have to sit back and make some connections? My son is very beautiful and very unique and when he was two or two and half he was diagnosed with autism and one of the things that was a huge component in his life and our life was his sensory stuff. Texture was massive and I only just started connecting the dots just recently. He really notices contrast between smooth and rough and textures of all sorts and I started relating to that in my own work as well.
Where do you see ceramics taking you in the next five years?
I would love, absolutely love to come over to the states and share my work. I would like to exhibit more. I would love a gallery to pick me up. It really does bring me peace. You know when you bring that piece out of the kiln. It is such a good feeling. I used to be a dark room photographer and when you have that image come up in the dark room, it is such a satisfying feeling. I want that to continue. I don’t want to get bored with it.
What is your favorite thing about Australia?
My father was British so I had a British passport and for a while I lived in England and when I was over there the one thing I missed about Australia is how…there is not a lot of judgement. Australians are very open people and if you want to eat ice cream in the snow,giddy-up. If you want to wear flip flops in a restaurant most of the time it’s OK. I guess we are a relaxed country and we are quite accepting. I think I really love the people.