Harlinah Teoh

Pincushion Hakea, 2023

23 × 33.5 cm
My botanical ceramic vessels are a meditation on walking, observation and creation. They draw on my childhood living in bush, rainforest and mangrove country and a lifelong interest in mythology and folk art. Today I continue to be inspired by plants as I walk new trails, reflecting on themes of ecological interconnection and adaptation. For ‘Pincushion Hakea’ I turned my attention to local walks, focusing on a Western Australian native that brings me great joy when I see it flowering in the sandbelt zone of Naarm/Melbourne. My stoneware vessels are coil-built, embracing slow construction and strong, organic forms. Rich surfaces are created through the addition and subtraction of layers using slips, underglaze, carving and sgraffito. The patient process of coil-building, layering colour, carving, and individually glazing each leaf and flower echoes the experience of moving through a landscape at walking pace, while the unglazed clay background references the terrain and textures of the land itself.

Harlinah Teoh is an emerging artist who builds botanical ceramic vessels inspired by walking in wild places. She grew up in New South Wales and the Northern Territory surrounded by potters and other artists, and has strong memories of digging clay and building a wood-fired kiln. She lived in Japan and Singapore before settling in Naarm/Melbourne. After reconnecting with ceramics in 2019, she shifted her focus to full-time studio practice in 2022. Her work is held in private collections in Australia, the United States, Asia and Europe. Teoh began exhibiting in 2023, with a solo exhibition at Glen Eira City Gallery and group exhibitions at Brunswick Street Gallery, Gallery Lowe and Lee, and Michael Reid Northern Beaches.

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