Wood firing

Finding Form on Landscape Road 

27 Feb 2021 – 27 Mar 2021
An exhibition of wood fired sculpture, made on residency in the Tallarook Ranges, exhibited at CLAD (Centre for Learning & Design), Bendigo, Victoria, Australia

To the Tallarook residency, I brought body and hands, an open heart, and bags of commercial clay. I found a dramatic natural place and connected resonantly to the landscape. The resulting sculptural forms are hard to name; they are elusively unknowable as is my irreconcilable relationship to this land. However, the works are intimate and tangible sensations of my experience of this place at this time.

Robyn Phelan

Finding form_install_artist_A4 print.Phelan
Finding form_gallery entry_website
Finding form_watercolour & vessel install_website



Robyn Phelan in conversation with Dr. Clare McCracken, artist, writer & academic to close the exhibition.
Saturday 27 March from 4.00 - 5.30 pm.

About the Tallarook Residency


Juggling COVID-19 restrictions Melbourne artist, Robyn Phelan’s new ceramic work responds to the natural environment of central Victoria in a solo exhibition at CLAD, Bendigo Pottery.  

In an exercise of perfect timing, Robyn negotiated a residency during the uncertainty of COVID-19 restrictions and rural fire bans. Throughout 2020, she inhabited the off-grid studio of master potter, Sandra Bowkett. Her aim was to make new ceramic work in physical dialogue with the bush environment. A motivating factor for this residency was the collaboration with Bowkett and the firing of work in her personal wood kiln.

The resulting exhibition Finding form on Landscape Road is a series of site-responsive, sculptural evocations during 2020, that capture the colour and texture in and around Bowkett’s studio in the Tallarook Ranges, Victoria. 

Phelan’s work responded to the local granite geology, in particular the view along Landscape Road, Tallarook. The mighty stone tors that emerge across the hills, ridgelines, and gullies strongly influenced the formal qualities of her sculptural forms. Underfoot, granitic sands and pebbles were gathered and sifted by hand for inclusion in her clay body, which add a textural connection to the site.

Bowkett cares deeply for this land and the environment. Her bourrey box kiln is fueled entirely by windfall and aged Black Wattle trees, cleared from her land. Bowkett’s knowledge and expertise at wood firing were tantamount to the success of this residency. The sculptures in Finding form on Landscape Road, feature blushes of orange and pink hues. This unpredictable colour is the effect of wattle wood ash, carried on drafts of heat within the kiln and melting onto the clay at temperatures up to 1300 degrees Celsius. 

Wood firing
Wood firing

Artworks in Exhibition

Dawn until dusk
19cm (W) x 17cm (H) x 19cm (D)
stoneware clay, Tallarook granitic sand, wood fired
Black Wattle Flame
Black Wattle flame
15cm (W) x 3515cm (H)
stoneware clay, Tallarook granitic sand, wood fired
Petrichor - Tallarook track (03.02.2020)
15cm (W) x 32cm (H) x 15cm (D)
stoneware clay, Tallarook granitic sand, wood fired
Finding form_Carry a pebble
I carry a pebble
14cm (W) x 25cm (H) x 21cm (D)
stoneware clay, Tallarook granitic sand, wood fired
 Mother Rock carrying tors_2020_l
Mother rock carrying tor
12cm (W) x 26cm (H) x 17cm (D)
hand-built Keane's Porcelain Paperclay, Tallarook granitic sand, wood fired
Thinking about Marea
18cm (W) x 22cm (H) x 17cm (D)
hand-built Keane's Porcelain Paper Clay, wood-fired
Finding form_River Stone Blossom_website
River stone blossom
18cm (W) x 32cm (H) x 20cm (D)
Hand-built Keane's Porcelain Paper Clay, Tallarook granitic sands, wood-fired
All things are connected_low res
All things are connected
18cm (W) x 5cm (H) x 15cm (D)
hand-built Keane's Porcelain Paperclay, wood fired
Wanti (embodied)
15cm (W) x 32cm (H) x 15cm (D)
hand-built Feeney's Raku Gold, wood-fired
Ngingali (after Eckermann)
18cm (W) x 32cm (H) x 15cm (D)
hand-built Keane's Porcelain Paperclay, wood fired