Studio Visit with Tracy Dickason
Tracy Dickason is a Sydney based ceramicist and illustrator with THE MOST AMAZING SPACE to work in! Her bright and airy family apartment sits atop a sandstone cliff just above a beautiful Mosman beach! Warm sunlight floods the corner in which Tracy works. Her delicate porcelain vessels and sculptures adorn a wooden chest while half-finished illustrations and drawings are scattered about the room.
Tracy has a very unique and clear aesthetic. Her colour palette consists mostly of black and white with the occasional addition of natural products such as bark, wood and stone. Dots and stripes are a common pattern across both mediums, with fibre stitching incorporated into both the ceramic pieces and the 2-dimensional paper work. I caught up with Tracy in Sydney for a sneak preview of the work coming to grace the gallery with it's presence.
Tell us about your background. How did you come to be practicing art full time?
Taking the leap of faith to become a full time artist has been one of the most exposing and vulnerable experiences I have ever had, yet every day I am grateful to have found my passion and that I have the opportunity and privilege to pursue it. Calling myself an artist terrifies and exhilarates me at the same time, I am truly humbled and grateful every time someone buys a piece of my work.
I am originally from South Africa, moving to Australia with my husband Greg and eldest daughter Emily in 1999. We have since had another daughter Catherine. I grew up with a Mum who was solidly immersed in the arts and in music, giving me an early exposure to the creative world. My first experience with clay was around the age of 8 or 9 when we visited a family friend who had a pottery wheel. I loved the sensation of working with the clay and did a few lessons with her but sadly they didn’t continue. I then had a gap of about 40 years where career and life led me on other adventures including marketing, web development, personal training and finance!
I was always drawn to creative pursuits from interior design to clothes making but all of these were hobbies and quite honestly my clothes making skills where limited to elastic and a lot of hope! A few years ago I found the space in my life to once again experience clay and I was completely absorbed once more. At first it was a part time pleasure but very quickly it grew into my passion and I made the decision to pursue it full time. Now it is a daily practice of creating in some way.
Your work is very distinctive, the colour, pattern and textures you use reappear throughout all mediums. How would you describe your aesthetic?
Whilst the actual development of my work has many layers, details and complexity in both the paper and clay forms I would still describe my work as minimalistic. I strongly believe that all the mediums I use in my work such as clay, thread, papers, inks, paints etc have a natural beauty of their own and my role is simply to give them a platform to shine.
Much of my work features circles, dots and curves. This aesthetic was not pre-planned and I questioned why I was always drawn to these forms and why they kept naturally appearing. I believe there is a sense of connection and completeness in a circle, a sense of community and coming together that we as humans thrive on and sometimes in our modern world are missing.
Threaded is about a story of change and the personal journey my family and I have taken so I did a little further research and came upon the work of psychiatrist Dr Nise Da Silveira, simply put, Dr Nise found that there seemed to be a common theme of circles or circular shapes in the work produced by her “clients”. Through discussions with fellow psychiatrist, Carl Jung, the following was said “These forms, Jung replied, demonstrate that the disturbed, fragmented psyche possesses a reorganizing and self-healing potential that is shaped in the form of circular images called mandalas.”
My hope is that you the observer will take from my images and vessels what speaks to you and form your own story and journey.
Tell us about your studio space. Where is your favourite place to work and why?
My home studio space is in the sunniest corner of my apartment overlooking the ocean with a view to eternity through the headlands! I pinch myself every time I stand at my table and dip my brush into paint or wrap my hands around a fresh ball of clay. I also share studio space with a group of wonderful ceramic artists at Brookvale Tafe on the Norther Beaches of Sydney, there I get to share ideas, learn from masters in the field and find a common minded community who generously share space and creativity with me.
What are your plans for the future?
My future is not planned; I practice my craft every day. As my knowledge grows, I grow and my work grows, changes and develops.