We caught up with a few of the incredibly talented resident artists at kil.n.it ahead of our hands-on Contemporaries studio visit on September 28th. Established in 2015, kil.n.it is an experimental ceramics studio, offering space, workshops and classes for the innovative and explorative use of clay in contemporary art.

We’re pleased to introduce Holly Macdonald, Madeleine Preston and Scott Duncan, three contemporary artists working with clay who will share their studios, skills and knowledge with us on the night.

Holly Macdonald

Holly Macdonald uses fine porcelain to hand-build delicate vessels. Their surfaces are traversed with elegant, considered drawings from Holly’s memories of landscape and place. Her first solo exhibition, About Place, was a sell-out show in July this year at Sabbia Gallery in Paddington.

Contemporaries: How long have you been working with clay?
Holly Macdonald: On and off since I was 8 years old. When I started studying in 2012, it became more on than off and since graduating from a BFA in 2014, I’ve been doing it full time.

C: What’s your favourite thing about clay?
HM: So many things but probably the textural aspect. The texture affects everything from the depth of colour to the quality of the pieces you make. Clay can really hold a mark and allows me to make my own mark.

C: What’s the most indispensable item in your studio?
HM: I have a littly paring knife that I bought at Chef’s Warehouse and I use it for everything from cutting out shapes to fixing up cracks. It can do everything.

C: Who/what do you listen to while you work?
HM: Sometimes I listen to radio stations like FBi. I will also listen to anything from Nina Simone to more contemporary music like Grimes. I’m currently hooked on this band called Hiatus Kaiyote. I also like listening to music without lyrics. Someone like Leon Vynehall is good because his music is ambient. It seems to suit the thought processes and floatiness I associate with working with clay.

Madeleine Preston

Originally trained as a painter and now working across the disciplines of painting, ceramics and installation, Madeleine Preston questions what we choose to remember and forget from the past. Madeleine was a finalist in this year’s Sulman Prize at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, and is a director of Home@735 Gallery in Redfern.

Contemporaries: How long have you been working with clay?
Madeleine Preston: Since 2014. I had never really touched it before then. But I did a residency at Gymea TAFE and Lynda Draper introduced me to it. She’s my mentor.

C: What’s your favourite thing about clay?
MP: Clay is really immediate but it’s also really slow if that makes sense. What I mean is that it’s really quick to make something and you can have an idea and make something in a day or you can really take a really long time. It also allows you to make a 3D object without having to have a huge amount of equipment.

C: What’s the most indispensable item in your studio?
MP: That would have to be the wooden spoon thing that I have which is like a paddle. It fits really nicely into my hand and gives me very smooth surfaces so I can trick people into believing I have thrown things [on the wheel] when I haven’t.

C: Who/what do you listen to while you work?
MP: Podcasts mainly. I used to listen to music but I liked that too much and it distracted me. It’s too emotional and engaging. Clay is about patience and you need to listen to something that you can tune in and out of without getting too attached to it. Podcasts are mainly voices so you can tune out when it’s boring but engage in when it’s interesting. I do still listen to a bit of music but not all the time. Plus I have to compete with Glenn Barkley’s music. He’s in the studio next door.

scott-duncan

Scott Duncan

Scott Duncan studied art before training as a chef, and has now reignited his passion for clay. He is making non-stop and has some particularly experimental work coming out the studio.

Contemporaries: How long have you been working with clay?
Scott Duncan: That’s a really tricky question because I have actually been working with clay for 25 years but I didn’t make anything for 23 years. So now my philosophy is to catch up as much as I can for time lost. It’s been a lot easier than I thought it would to get back into it. So I’m enjoying rediscovering what I can do with clay. It’s exciting to work everything out again.

C: What’s your favourite thing about clay?
SD: I love the taste and flavour of clay. Making a work out of clay is more similar than you think to being a chef. It’s really not that different to making a cake.

C: What’s the most indispensable item in your studio?
SD: I actually bought this thing yesterday which is a kind of 1960s biscuit press. You see them in op shops every now and again. It’s kind of like a mini extruder. I paid $10 for it and it came with all these attachments. So now I can make clay biscuits to attach to pots. Kitchen tools are so handy. I might actually start doing that going forward: only use food utensils to make my work and really live out my food dream.

C: Who/what do you listen to while you work?
SD: I mainly listen to 2ser, the community radio station run by UTS. It plays a lot of music I would never listen to normally. I’m listening to soul music right now. I share a studio with Glenn Barkley so I like to listen to the music because it means I can ignore him. As long as we don’t talk or look at each other, it’s good. I’m just kidding. We’re on very similar wavelengths.


Join Contemporaries at the kil.n.it studios on Wednesday 28 September to explore the working spaces of resident artists and try your hand at wheel-throwing, hand-building and coiling. 

Become a member of Contemporaries to receive your invitation to the kil.n.it event, plus access to a calendar of exclusive experiences, tours and member benefits.