Ceramic artist Tamasin Pepper was living in Surry Hills with two small children, a kiln squeezed between two terrace houses and a studio up a flight of stairs on the first-floor back balcony, which made the decision to move to Bellingen an easy one. “It just seemed like a nicer environment for my girls to grow in, with more freedom and nature. It also seemed more possible to create art in a less stressed, quieter environment.” Tamasin’s work reflects the natural environment of this region, the soft green glaze featured in her domestic ware reflecting the surrounds of Bellingen.
For Tamasin, life and art always went together. “I always liked making things throughout my childhood and used to paint and make with my mum.” Like many of the Bellingen kids, life also started at a Steiner primary school, which fostered in Tamasin the love of the arts and crafts. On leaving school Tamasin spent her gap year attending an evening class in ceramics, busily creating a portfolio of work for an interview at Sydney College of the Arts, which she attended the following year.
Tamasin has dabbled in printmaking and drawing with inks, but these days works almost exclusively with clay. “I work with placing pieces of clay together in an organic, subconsciously random way so there is a rich, uncontrived surface built up on fairly elemental forms. The process of making is revealed and left exposed to trap and pool colourants and glazes.” Her work has elements of the Japanese aesthetic of Wabi Sabi, with its “focus on a quietness and simplicity of form, reflecting our natural environment in all its perfect imperfection, a balance of defined against organic, a balance of opposites.” Tamasin’s work is quite unique. She acknowledges some of her teachers along the way such as Hiroe Swen, Mitsuo Shoji and Enrique Mestre as helping her to see and define form
Tamasin is also a much-loved local ceramic teacher. “Teaching ceramics helps to sustain my own interest and keeps fresh ideas flowing. I see the love of the medium in my students. Teaching has made my art practice less solitary.”
Tamasin has an exciting year ahead. “One of my pieces has been included in ‘Accolade’, an exhibition of awarded potters opening on Friday the 10th of March at Kerrie Lowe Gallery, Sydney.” Tamasin will also be busy creating new pieces for various galleries- Sturt Gallery in Mittagong,The Flying Pig /Precinct Gallery in Berry and Kerrie Lowe Gallery in Sydney. Her domestic range can always be sourced at The Bellingen Kitchen Shop.” And of course, Tamasin will continue to teach ceramics from her newly expanded and customised studio space at home in Bellingen.
To view Tamasin’s art visit Facebook @tamasinpepperceramics
Don’t miss Tam’s upcoming exhibition ‘Along the Way’ opening at the Nexus Gallery Bellingen Saturday 5th March, 5pm.
“Along the way, through my practice, I explore the ancient quality of landscape from the microscopic to the aerial, grand scale. In this exhibition, I explore different clays for varying surface effects and a range of building techniques such as slab, pinch pot, coil and wheel work, each with its own qualities to influence form. Evidence of construction (exposed coils, soft throwing lines and paddling marks) are emphasised with a surface treatment of oxides, engobes and/or glazes. The softly bellied, bottle and jug forms allowed me to play at the wheel. Placing the soft aqua, white stoneware pieces and the earthy, red stoneware pieces together on shelves builds a “potscape” of repeated forms and contrasting colour.”