Claire Ellis: In Any Way Shape or Form at Brunswick Street Gallery
Before the pandemic struck, Ben Shewry’s acclaimed Attica opened a pottery studio out the back of the restaurant, with chef Claire Ellis behind the wheel. Last year they sold her creations under Attica Studio Ceramics, featuring dainty bowls, dinner sets, speckled cups and a lasagne dish.
Now the Canadian chef turned ceramicist has her first solo exhibition, featuring 100 ceramic plates made with a combination of wheel-throwing and hand-building. It was first only viewable online, but can now be visited at Brunswick Street Gallery.
As the title In Any Way Shape or Form suggests, each piece takes on a unique shape, with Ellis keeping the size, material and appearance all constant. Some have the same curves and edges you’d expect from dinner plates, while others are less practical but far more playful. Some take cues from food, such as coiled spaghetti, a folded dumpling, the lattice-top of a pie and the cross-section of a citrus. Others look like flowers in bloom with symmetrical petals, an open sea urchin shell or a geometric maze – all telling a different story.
Each one was glazed with a recipe Ellis developed that uses eggshells rather than the more commonly used whiting, which is mined. It’s an exploration into food waste and how it can be used in art.
$25 from the sale of each plate will be donated to food rescue organisaton Ozharvest as a reflection of Ellis’s advocacy. Each sale will help the non-profit deliver 50 meals to those in need.
After lockdown, the plates will also be available to view at Brunswick Street Gallery in person.