As a ceramic artist Dawn’s work explores the use of multiple porcelain elements to create installations that explore human relationships with the botanical world. Combining slip-cast forms, often with handcrafted details and additions, she creates intriguing forms with a narrative of growth and survival. Her latest body of work entitled The Garden of Alchemy invites the audience to immerse themselves in a garden of hidden delights, and calls into question the value we misplace on the accumulation of wealth over the need to protect the environment that sustains us.
Dawn’s passion for porcelain is evident in her being awarded the 2020 Bob and June Prickett Sponsored Churchill Fellowship for Excellence in Visual Arts. This Fellowship will enable her to undertake a nine-week research trip and residency at The Pottery Workshop in Jingdezhen, China. Throughout the residency Dawn will research and compare traditional and contemporary practice through studio visits, interviews and observations. She will undertake workshops with skilled artisans and then further develop her own porcelain skills through practical work in her residency studio.
COVID-19 has of course delayed the prospect of international travel but it is hoped that the trip might still go ahead before the next Australian Triennale so that Dawn can present her Jingdezhen experience at the 2022 Alice Springs event.
2021 will see Dawn embark on her most ambitious project to date with the launch of Botanically Porcelain, an 18-month project in partnership with the George Brown Botanic Gardens. This endeavour will see Dawn working as the ‘Artist in the Gardens’ working direct from nature before returning to her Tactile Arts based studio to develop and create multiple slip-cast pieces for a large scale installation. Community involvement through workshops and open studios will be an integral part of the project which will conclude with a three venue exhibition in 2022.
Image: Dawn Beasley, 'Alchemy', 2021, porcelain, gold leaf and pearlite, installation (detail).