I'm Harlinah Teoh, an emerging ceramics artist based in Melbourne, Australia. I’ve taken to ceramics with a passion, drawn back to a childhood surrounded by potters and playing with clay. I studied at Studio Artemis and School of Clay and Art (SoCA) and participated in my first group exhibition at Incub8r Gallery in Fitzroy in January 2020. I work from my home-based studio where I embrace patience and simplicity, focusing on development of my skills and creative practice.
My ceramics gently twist traditions of botanical decorative arts to explore my imaginative life and themes of colonisation, migration and adaptation. The plants are a blend of real and fantastic; figurative and abstract; European, Australian and Asian; precious specimens, wildflowers and invasive weeds. They draw on my family history, my experiences living in Australia, Japan and Singapore, and my lifelong fascination with mythology and folk art.
Botanical designs emerge unbidden when I tap into my creative instincts. I associate plants with the tangled, fruitful mysteries of the subconscious mind. My dreamscape is shaped by the Australian bush, rainforest and mangrove country where I spent my childhood and adolescence.
Each work is unique. I handbuild vessels in stoneware clay using ancient techniques of pinching and coiling, embracing slow construction, minimalist tools and simple, organic forms. Surface designs are created through addition and subtraction of layers using slips, underglaze painting, carving and sgrafitto. I work instinctively and directly onto wet, dry and bisque-fired clay, without planning or sketches. All work is glazed and fired to stoneware temperatures to ensure they are both sculptural and robustly functional.