Ms Leanne McKenzie shares inspiration behind artwork

Year 2 teacher Leanne McKenzie is one of the artists featured in the Craft + Design Canberra’s Emerging Contemporaries exhibition. The exhibition features work of emerging designers and makers from local institutions including Sturt School for Wood, Canberra Potters Society, Canberra Institute of Technology, and the ANU School of Art + Design. Leanne's installation consists of a group of ceramic garden totems created using a range of clays, glazes and surface decoration. The pieces reflect her passion for art and nature, and some also serve a functional purpose by providing a water reservoir for bees to drink.

Ms Leanne McKenzie

When and how did pottery as art pique your interest?

I’ve always enjoyed pursuing creative endeavours, and I did an Intro to Pottery class at the beginning of 2020. Since then, I have explored wheel throwing, hand building, glaze development as well as electric, gas and wood firing. I love all forms of ceramics as I’m consistently learning.

What inspires you to make your garden totems?

I love my garden and have previously made welded sculptural pieces. I did an emerging makers program and part of that process was trying to create an individual style. One of the areas I thought to try was making totems out of clay. I love finding colours that work together, use different clay bodies and discovering different surface designs to create a textural depth and interest in each orb.

How does it feel to have your work included in this exhibition?

I feel really proud to be part of this exhibition. I entered the Canberra Potters Member’s Exhibition last year and won an Emerging Contemporaries Award with Craft and Design Canberra. Part of this award was being part of this exhibition.

Lastly, what effect does art have on how you approach teaching young learners?

Pottery and creativity help me to understand how we all struggle at times to learn new skills. At Radford College we support children to learn to recognise that learning is a challenge and sometimes tricky, and that it is only with persistence that new learning occurs. In other words, you need to put the work in! I have and continue to learn to develop my craft as a potter.

The exhibition runs until 16 March at Craft + Design Canberra. Visit their website for more information.