Alexandra Copeland

Self portrait. 1996. 150x120cm Oil on board

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Carpets designed by Alexandra Copeland, woven in Afghanistan

2013 Work

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2014 Work

I grew up in a community of artists and potters, and their bookshelves introduced me to Eastern and Islamic art. I've picked up shards of pottery from the dust of ancient cities in Central Asia, Anatolia, Greece, Italy and China. Years of travel have enabled me to see major museums and collections. The stroke of an artist's brush on a 700 year old shard is as fresh as the moment it was painted. Manganese and other metallic oxides can be melted into colours which will never change. With my work I am not able to prepare an outline or correct the drawing. I like the risk and discipline of working like this. It is dangerous, and the moment before opening the kiln brings a knot to the gut.

To achieve a satisfactory balance of surface and colour in ceramics one must work on the borders of technology and art. With enormous help from Leigh Copeland I have spent years experimenting - always with a mental picture of the hoped-for result.

All my work is functional. My subject matter is personal - things close at hand - a sort of diary. I am not interested in following fashion - after all, these pots, or their shards, will last for thousands of years. I am touched by the work of potters throughout history and it is the same indefinable quality that I aim for in my work.

For me, art is still about quality and aesthetics.

From catalogue for the Colin and Cecily Rigg Award,

National Gallery of Victoria