By Zoe Theodore
Concerned with conventional standards of beauty, Lucinda Florence’s ceramics can be understood as an exploration into the inverse of these ideals, expressed through clay. Her exhibition, Above the Knee and Other Concerns is the third rendition of the 2015 ACCA Startups program, which combines functionality with sculpture to create misshapen vessels that preach the body-image advice her mother gave her as a young woman – wise advice Florence now wishes she listened to more.
Above the Knee and Other Concerns includes ceramic vases, ashtrays and paperweights fashioned out of clay and adorned with features taken from the human body. It includes a small ashtray sized tray adorned with topical yellow teeth, a leg–like shaped vase embellished with small black hairs and a tea bowl that has grown large protruding ears. The objects are uneven, irregular and misshapen as they embody the artist’s ideals about alternative forms of beauty. Handmaking and versatility play a big part in Lucinda’s practice as her ceramics exist within the borders of art and craft – a binary that she thinks should be more fluid. Lucinda explains that she looks to make something that is both beautiful and functional and enjoys cleverly combining the two within one object.
Lucinda’s initial attraction to ceramics was tactility and a desire to make things with her hands. After completing her undergraduate degree in photography at RMIT she says she “was fed up staring at a screen all day. So I enrolled in a ceramics course at Northcote Pottery as a sort of celebration.” After taking one course, the medium really resonated with her and she continued exploring with clay in her spare time at home. She claims, “in art school I was already moving away from photography” and looking for an artistic practice that was more hands on. The body of work shown in Above the Knee and Other Concerns is created with a combination of hand building and a plaster free moulding technique. Handmade production is a very important aspect of Lucinda’s practice, as no two pieces are exactly the same. After asking Lucinda why handmade is important to her she responds, “I simply enjoy the process of hand-making something and like that they contribute to a community of conscious production.”
In response to being asked how her aesthetic developed, Lucinda says that she has always been a “wonky” person, remembering times in art school when “people would have to re-hang her photographs as she could never get them quite straight.” Correspondingly, the artist never uses the wheel or any cast-moulding techniques to form her ceramics. Instead, Lucinda uses a plaster free moulding technique, which gives her ceramics their signature misshapen aesthetic. This technique was taught to Lucinda by local ceramist Leah Jackson, whilst she was attending one of her first ceramic courses. The free-form shape of the vessels also corresponds to the premise behind her practice – to represent alternative forms of beauty that are divergent from conventional ideals.
Zoe Theodore is an emerging writer, producer and curator. She is ACCA’s intern on the Startups project.