Jan Downes has a passion for porcelain, always pushing it to its limits in the pursuit of thinness and translucency. She has worked in clay for many years and now has a studio at Kil.n.it Experimental Ceramic Studios in Glebe, Sydney. In 2022 she was selected for the Clunes Ceramic Award exhibition, currently she is a finalist in the Gosford Art prize and the Woollahra Small Sculpture exhibition. In May this year an edition of Materialised was a part of the Australian Design Centre’s display at the Melbourne Design Fair. She will exhibit at Stella Downer Gallery opening at the end of October. Jan’s undergraduate studies were at Sydney Collage of the Arts, she was awarded a Masters of Fine Art at The University of Newcastle specialising in ceramics in 2001. For many years she was a lecturer at this university, teaching ceramics and early childhood art. She has always been a strong advocate for students’ development of their individual creativity through her teaching and running workshops. Recently she was on the board of The Australian Ceramics Association, she has written some articles for the journal of this organisation.
My current ceramic practice is focused on the materiality of fabric and porcelain; impermanence and permanence. Soft clay and fabrics allow easy manipulation and are responsive to even the most delicate touch. Through firing the softness of clay is rendered permanent and rigid. By pouring liquid porcelain inside a fabric mould, I record a moment in time; the temporary gathering, folding, drapery and texture of the cloth and paths of the stitchery.
The finished pieces are reminiscent of the tactility of fabrics intimate to our daily lives such
as clothing, bedlinen and drapery: receptacles of memory and comfort.