Janelle Peterson is a ceramic artist, living in Albany, Western Australia, creating hand-built, sculptural and functional clay pieces. She attended Edith Cowan and Curtin university receiving a bachelor’s degree in fine art.
Janelle rediscovered pottery in 2016 after not touching clay since university. After seeing a series on different pottery techniques, she was inspired to start making in clay again and it quickly became her main medium.
She high fires most of her work using a mixture of stamping, sculpture, using vintage moulds, and making her own moulds to create one-of-a-kind artworks including jewellery, sculpture, and functional items.
Her current work is heavily influenced by her background using textiles, collage, assemblage, stencils, and printmaking.
Myth and fairy tales feature heavily in Janelle’s work.
Janelle lives with her husband Richard and their two English Staffies, Bambam and Lolly, and their cat, kitty.
They are owners of a Brazilian jiujitsu club where Richard coaches and Janelle trains as a purple belt and helps coach kids’ classes.
‘Everywhere I look in her studio, there are hearts. On a table reserved for work in progress stand two porcelain sculptures of babies, clothes imprinted with lace and tulle. Their shut-eyed, red-lipped faces are moulded from an old doll’s head – itself a treasured possession. In their hands are little offerings: one child proffers a tiny house; the other delicately cradles in her fingers a human heart.
Behind them is the sculpture Janelle refers to as her “big lady”, her face cast from a hairdresser’s dummy. Her forehead wears a diadem of skulls, her hair and shoulders festooned with roses. On her left shoulder, where a bird might perch, is another, fist-sized heart. It is – literally – visceral, but poignant, beautiful. It defies explanations yet strikes an archetypal chord.’
Giles Watson, from Stories in Porcelain: The Art of Janelle Peterson
My work is always connected to childhood. I love fairy stories and fables. Before I started working in clay my work revolved around my childhood and life experiences. houses, the home, childhood mementos, and objects that are familiar to where i live and grew up always appear as a common thread through my work.
I’m not afraid of my work being dark. I love dolls and pretty things that also have a creepy feel.
fairy tales are quite violent and frightening in their original form and are meant as warnings and I want to add some of that to the work I create.
I do enjoy texture and surface patterning and all the techniques used in printmaking and clay is a perfect medium for this. Making moulds from found objects and making imprints of vintage fabric to use in my sculpture are just a couple of ways that show the versatility of clay. the possibilities of clay are endless, and it constantly keeps me interested.
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