The Clay Gulgong ceramic festival will return this year from April 17 to 23, bringing master sculptors from around the world together to create, collaborate and celebrate all things clay.
“There’s a whole host of people coming,” said artistic director Bernadette Mansfield. “Probably the best in the field at the moment.”
Guests include Keith Brymer Jones, who has become something of a ceramic celebrity for his work on the BBC2 program The Great Pottery Throw Down; and curator Marta Donaghey of London’s Centre for Contemporary Ceramics, who will bring the Best of British exhibition to display work by the UK’s finest ceramicists in the centre of Gulgong.
Italy’s Alessandro Gallo and American Beth Cavener, both creators of lifelike animal-influenced sculptures, will come to Gulgong for the first time in 2016, along with artists from Italy, Norway and the Netherlands.
Six master artists from New Zealand will exhibit in town and work individually and collaboratively on a large figurative and sculptural landscape over the week.
A number of ceramic exhibitions will be installed in local premises, and locals can follow a “shopfront trail” to see the exceptional work that Clay Gulgong brings to town.
The festival will culminate with all the delegates spending a day at the Mansfield property, Morning View, where two major sculptures will be created.
The triennial festival was initiated in 1989 by Janet Mansfield, one of the world’s foremost ambassadors for Australian ceramics, and a celebrated potter with her workshop at Morning View, Gulgong.
Ms Mansfield coordinated the 2013 festival, dubbed Clay Edge, before losing her life to cancer that year, and her legacy continues under the leadership of her son and daughter-in-law, Neil and Bernadette.
Bernadette Mansfield said the event was building on what had gone before, while evolving with the interests of the next generation.
This includes a special focus on collaborations between various media, with drawing and painting artists invited and Melbourne’s Scrimshaw Four bringing a musical element to the party on Mayne Street that will open the festival.
As well as operating the festival, Mansfield Ceramics has a Sydney gallery and a quarterly magazine, and this year will launch an artist-in-residence program at Morning View to maintain Gulgong as an active part of the ceramic world between festivals.