ABOUT THE ARTIST
I'm Harlinah Teoh, a ceramics artist working on Boonwurrung land in Melbourne, Australia.
Botanical designs emerge when I tap into my creative instincts. I associate plants with the tangled, fruitful mysteries of the subconscious mind ~ my dreamscape shaped by the bush, rainforest and mangrove country where I spent my childhood and adolescence. My ceramics play with 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.
I handbuild vessels in stoneware clay using ancient techniques of pinching and coiling, embracing slow construction, minimalist tools and organic forms. Each work is unique. Surface designs are created through addition and subtraction of layers using slips, underglaze, carving and sgrafitto. I work instinctively and directly onto wet, dry and bisque-fired clay. All work is glazed and fired to stoneware temperatures to ensure it is both sculptural and robustly functional.