Ceramics and live pottery with Ed Whitelock, self-confessed Pot-ed
Ed Whitelock is a Sydney-based ceramics artist. He works within the traditional practice of pottery, making a majority of his works using a throwing wheel and firing them into a reducing atmosphere. His works aim to discover new and innovative ways for people to interact with a material they use everyday.
Andy Ripped Jeans: Ceramics is quite a unique creative output particularly for someone our age. What drew you towards it initially?
Ed: I began working with ceramics in high school and never really thought much of it at first. However after working with the medium over a year I found it so relaxing to be able to work with your hands to create something that transformed from soft mud to stone-hard forms. I was then introduced to glaze making, the chemistry behind it and the primitive firing technique of Raku, an ancient Japanese style of firing where the piece is fired to 1000 degrees, taken out at this temperature and placed in a container lined with sawdust. I feel it was this technique that really created my passion for working with ceramics.
Andy Ripped Jeans: Your work is an exploration of both the creative aspect of ceramics and the science that goes into glazing. From your works I've seen you tend to experiment with different colours and patterns in this way. How exactly does science play a roll?
Ed: Science comes into play with my practice whilst making glazes, and hopefully in the future my own clay recipe. It isn't highly technical chemistry but the basis of it is that the shiny surface over ceramics is melted glass. However glass (silica) melts at around 1600 degrees, a temperature that most ceramics cannot withstand. So you have to add different elements such as sodium, potassium and boron to lower the melting temperature and fit how much the work expands and contracts whilst firing. These substituting elements also have different effects on colour, finish and texture.
Andy Ripped Jeans: As well as ceramics you're a pretty creative dude. You've dabbled in trumpet and bass and I've seen some of your drawings. They are dope. As well as this you're a mean cook. I can still taste that honey chicken you made for me in year 11 in my mouth. Do these other creative outputs influence your work with ceramics at all?
Ed: I think that these outputs have influenced different works I've created, such as my installation "You're the Voice" which used compressed air to create and audience interactive sculpture that created sound. I have also drawn on some vessels using the inlay technique and am currently working with James Lesjak-Atton to do a collaboration that will probably utilise this technique as well.
Andy Ripped Jeans: What can we expect to see from you at Yeah Nah Yeah #4 on the 17th Dec?
Ed: I'll be working on the potters wheel for a couple of hours, starting with some smaller cups and bowls and then moving to a larger platter and vase.
Come check out Ed's live pottery at YEAH NAH YEAH #4 on the 17th December!