Resilience & Reward: Astrid Salomon
The 2023 Siliceous Award for Ceramic Excellence was given to Astrid Salomon’s work ‘Dark Fruit’.
Salomon is a German-born Melbourne-based artist who is relatively new to the clay medium, taking up the craft as a sanity-saving measure during the extended COVID lockdowns in Victoria.
The piece Dark Fruit is a coil-built stoneware vessel with the overall shape resembling a classic ceramic form and bulbous like ripe fruit but with the surface broken by sharp geometric protrusions. The glaze is sombre but delicately textural and almost metallic. Her ceramic works are deeply personal and concerned with creating physical manifestations of emotional states. This work was part of a series exploring the theme of resilience.
By taking an ‘old-school’ approach Salomon has developed her own glaze palette, rather than using commercially prepared glazes, and fires her work in a gas kiln. She has been the fortunate recipient of expert mentorship from Hilary Barta, a retired ceramic artist and teacher. Barta’s work is held in many public and private collections, including the CAQ’s Permanent Collection. It is heartening to see the continuity of knowledge and practice within the clay community. This also underscores the importance of large collections, such as CAQ’s Permanent Collection, and its role in documenting the history of the medium in Australia.
While a relative newcomer to ceramics, Salomon is an experienced artist of many decades, working in varied fields of photography, film, and painting. Her photographer’s eye lends itself to a sculptural approach to form with her work exploring the relationship between volume and negative space.
Salomon appreciates clay as an artistic medium as it affords a close connection between maker and the audience, ‘It is the purest way of connecting, not pleasing a broad audience but to a single person that enjoys the presence of a specific piece and makes it their own in their own space. It is a very special bond, which has nothing to do with me as the maker, but what that person connects with’.
In the near future, Salomon plans to renovate and extend her studio while continuing to show her work. Salomon hopes to pursue a residency opportunity in Korea or Japan. For more about Salomon and her work visit her website: www.bastardceramics.com
This article was first published in CAQ ‘s Quarterly Bulletin, December 2023. Text and photos by Stephanie Henricks.