Photography and Interview by Hannah Darkins
Read and see more over at The Unfold
For her solo show, blanc feelings, Milly Dent furthers her investigation of the material of porcelain, through a series that bonds perpendicular lines with balanced fluid clay bodies. Exploring this dichotomy, she examines light and shadow through sculptural ceramic form. Dent’s work is a continued study of the intimate, tangible and ever challenging nature of porcelain.
Unlike her signature blue marbled ceramics, this body of work will be mostly neutral, and pays homage to the power of tactility and texture. The works includes functional vessels as well as more ambiguous forms.
Intrigued by porcelain’s reputation as a smooth and compliant clay, each object showcased in blanc feelings is an investigation of material surface tension, developed across a scale of thickness, roughness and the whiteness of the clay body. Subtle shifts in surface finish from raw unglazed porcelain to gloss glaze to ethereal gold lustre, are used to celebrate the fine detail.
As a traditionally industrial process, associated with larger scale production, Milly utilises the slip casting process as the primary mode to construct this bespoke body of work. Beyond slip casting she explores experimental burn out methods and a wide variety of natural materials - wood chips, sawdust, cardboard, popcorn, sunflower seeds - for variation in surface texture. The result, a series of innovative porcelain outsources.
Photography by Kelly Geddes
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Behind the scenes making of the Sunflower Moulds - these were cast directly from sunflowers growing out the back of the studio 🌻
Hand-crafted to reflect both Japanese and western styles dining, the Sora Collection is focused on simple, traditional Japanese design, and consists of the Kumo Cup (雲- Cloud), Ame Flute (雨 - Rain) and Minamo Saucer (水面 Water’s Surface).
A feature piece in the Sora collection, the stemless Ame Flute offers a striking glassy blue alternative to traditional glass flute designs and can be used as a champagne glass, a vase or as a sake cup. The flutes will be sold in sets of three and five as an ode to Japanese superstitions surrounding the unlucky nature of the number four.
A pop up at Comber Street Studios with Tara Burke & Alexandra Standen. December 2018.
Photography by Carine Thevenau
Flowers by Sophie Kaplan
Corrugated Porcelain with Golden Repairs. Part of the blanc feelings collection.
CASA explores a notion of ‘home’ that extends far beyond the physical manifestation. Home can be a location, a person, a group of people, a state of mind, or an abstract sense of belonging. The word “casa” is part of the vernacular of Mediterranean countries famous for their welcoming hospitality, celebrations in the home of family.
For CASA, Milly’s porcelain sculptural works in their muted colour palette evoke a sensuous feeling, with a focus on the curved form. The works explore fluid and sharp edges, work which appear heavy, strong yet at the same time appear delicate and soft. These biomorphic works reflect the harmonious contours found in Valentine Schlegel’s primitive and seemingly naturally occurring interiors, with subtle shifts in surface finish from raw unglazed porcelain to gloss glaze.
Photography by Jacqui Turk
For her solo show, Vitrified, Sydney ceramicist Milly Dent returns from Japan inspired by the rich ceramic history she found there – and explores how it has influenced her contemporary processes.
With the support of the Australian Council for the Arts, Milly undertook an artist’s residency March in Arita – a pottery village on Kyushu Island, recognised as the birthplace of porcelain in Japan. Arita is surrounded by pristine mountains and forests, and infused with a sense of timelessness as streams weave between the traditional houses and ceramic factories. What most struck the artist was the juxtaposition of the piles of discarded moulds out the back of the factory against these picturesque scenes.
“This ‘Mould Graveyard’ was the disposal of all moulds where the forms were no longer used by the factory, or perhaps had imperfections. All were thrown into a huge waste pile and deteriorated over time due to the rain, snow, wind and other natural elements. I was inspired to create a series of resurrections from Arita, a sense of revival or reincarnation of the forms, which can now be seen as more beautiful and interesting with the capturing of the decay, the memory of rain and atmosphere to decay the mould”, says Milly.
Photography by Alana Dimou
Bailey Nelson came to my studio to shoot their new collection amongst the handmade ceramics.
Photography by Chris Loutfy
A collaboration with painter, graphic designer and dear friend Evi O.
Photography by Brigitte Gottleib
COMMON GROUND. The concept will be explored by 3 pairs of Painters and ceramicists. Common Ground – where a fresh approach to curating will produce a show of ceramic art that owes a major debt to painting.
Exploring the nature of shared ideas and sources of inspiration, Common Ground presents the work of 3 painters, each paired with a ceramicist of their choice selected to collaborate on ideas based on common values and preoccupations.
In simple terms this collaboration might mean the ceramic artist has created a new range of forms, which will then be decorated by the painter. But how each pair of artists chooses to work together is up to them. What we anticipate is that, in exploring the common ground between them the artists will develop ideas that push the boundaries of their established art practices, and we’re looking forward to seeing some surprising and exciting new artworks and approaches as a result.
As all the artists selected for Common Ground have been influenced and inspired by the natural world, the environment will form a unifying theme for the show, creating an exhibition that will have an element of ‘green’ all round.
Given that nature will be at the heart of everything, we’re looking forward to seeing a range of interesting dialogues developing between the works, and a cohesive show brimming with comparisons and contrasts, and alive with new ideas.
Milly and Evi are both Sydney based designers and artists, who met at Saint Cloche. Working together for the brief ‘Common Ground’, they explored forms from nature, with the forms quite literally being cast from moulds made from eggplants–both artists’ favourite vegetable–creating sets of functional tray, cups and vases/jugs. The surface features a combination of their aesthetic, Milly Dent’s signature marbling and Evi O’s abstract shapes and colours.
Photography by Alana Dimou
Dango Gems 団子 collection, were based on Milly’s signature geometrical Gem Cups. These works have been crafted using fine Arita Porcelain, each in limited edition runs of ten. All numbered for exclusivity, Milly developed this range of sandblasted ware by mixing air pressure with the abrasive material of sand resulting in the exterior glaze surface of the cups is slowly worn away to create a soft, textural surface.
The earthy tones of this range were inspired by “Hanami Dango”, Japanese rice treats that are served during the Hanami Cherry Blossom season.
The new aesthetic was inspired by both the natural elements and cultural rituals of her temporary home.
"After the Bather's" is a body of work created for the National Gallery of Victoria Design Store. I was commissioned to make a range of wares based on Edgar Degas’ work being exhibited at the gallery. In this range I created fluid, curved, asymmetrical shapes that were chosen as a reflection of the human body in unusual positions that Degas explored in his later work, “The Bather’s”. This series explores in particular his work of woman bathing, and his soft romantic colour palate and peach nude tones in contrast to the blacks.
Photography form a visit to Onto, Oita Prefecture.
This incredible pottery village makes traditional pottery using methods which have been in use for over 300 years.
A collaboration with jewellery and friend, Pip Stent Jewellery.
Photography by Alana Dimou
A collaboration with Melbourne label Handsom, where I designed and created a series of home wares inspired by the colour palette of Handsom’s new season knitwear.
Photography by Casey Eastwell
Shop Milly’s Collection here