Hi, my name’s Clare unger, and in this workshop, I will show you how to combine two different art forms; Hand stitching and Ceramics, to create Functional Art.
We will be going through the whole process, from design concepts, through to the finished form.
This technique has so many different applications, and it’s a good way to integrate both surface and form.
After the workshop, you could be making work like this:
A collection of inherited handstitched textiles, including some made by my mother, inspired me to begin stitching and looking for ways to incorporate this into my ceramics practice.
My mother was inspired to take up applique stitching after inheriting a collection of textiles made by my father’s great aunt, Kathleen Murray. Kathleen Murray, affectionately known as Aunty Kath, was married to the English potter William Staite Murray. They were both artists who for a time lived on the farm where I grew up in Zimbabwe.
I remember watching my mother cutting shapes from her trove of pre-used fabrics – floral prints, upholstery chintz, old linen and lace – and stitching them onto fabric to create applique designs of birds and flowers reminiscent of those made by Aunty Kath that she had inherited and that I now have. We would drink tea and talk about art, about our family history and many other topics. These conversations and my exposure to the wonderfully eclectic collection of art scattered throughout our house were all instrumental in encouraging me to pursue art as a career.
Following school I completed a Bachelor of Fine Art, majoring in Printmaking, at the University of Cape Town. I enjoyed many aspects of printmaking but always felt a desire to work three dimensionally and when I moved to London in 1996 with my husband, I took the opportunity to study ceramics at a community college. In 1998 we returned to Zimbabwe but due to political unrest emigrated to Australia in 2001. I was fortunate to be able to continue studying ceramics at TAFE NSW while juggling motherhood and settling into a new country and have since completed a Diploma and an Advanced Diploma in Ceramics through TAFE NSW.
The work that I make is the result of everything that I have experienced. Clay, stitching and printmaking have come together in an organic and unpremeditated way to express my story. The functional nature of my work ties it to the domestic realm where both stitching and ceramics are often found to be in use, but the concepts which drive my creativity add another layer to the story of the humble domestic objects that I choose to make. In this way I strive to make pieces that are unique and that will enrich everyday life.