Design  Stories

Take Five with Juz Kitson

Juz Kitson is a ceramicist from Sydney’s Central Coast who has been based in the Chinese city of Jingdezhen (often known as the world renowned porcelain capital) for the last 6 years. Kitson uses her fascination with organic forms to create objects of unsettling beauty.

Her work consists of wall sculptures, taxonomic collections of small works displayed in groups usually built around that enduring signifier of love, death and desire – the heart. Just as Kitson’s sculptures appear undefined in their very form, they also blur the barriers between living and decaying.

We are absolutely fascinated with Juz’s work here at Hale and we were so lucky that she was kind enough to ‘Take Five’ with us and give a rare insight into her fascinating world.

HMCo: Tell us a little bit about your background – what path led you to what you’re doing now? 

I learnt from a very early age that I wanted to pursue a career in the arts, attending art school at The National Art School in Sydney and surrounding myself with an eclectic group of people from all walks of life meant I was exposed to a lot about art, music and culture. Originally I wanted to pursue photography but I became sidetracked by the endless possibilities of ceramics and have never looked back.

HMCo: What does a typical day of yours involve?

A typical day doesn’t exist in my world. I thrive on chaos and tend to be ‘go go go’ all the time. I lead a very nomadic lifestyle, constantly moving; I need a lot of visual stimulation to make the type of work I do. The different landscapes and cultures I surround myself in influences the type of work I make.

A day involves; a coffee of course, healthy breakfast, yoga or a walk with my Tibetan spaniel, check emails, a few phone calls and then straight into the studio. My work is incredibly labour intensive and often demands 10-16 hour work days. I’m a night owl, so often I burn the midnight candle.

HMCo: Who inspires you inside & outside the design world?

I’m inspired by strong independent women in the contemporary art scene. The artists Patricia Piccinini and Del Kathryn Barton, the gallerists Jan Murphy and Roslyn Oxley, the curator Alexi Glass, the writer Miranda Darling and Chinese artist Cao Fei based in Beijing.

HMCo: Which other Australian designers, artists or brands are you loving at the moment? 

I’m loving Skarfe at the moment, based in Sydney’s Potts Point and working collaboratively with artists to produce the prints for their beautiful scarves.

In terms of ceramics I’m a big fan of my fellow contemporaries like Brendan Huntley, Lynda Draper and Glenn Barkley. All pushing the traditional notions of a medium steeped in history onto a contemporary platform.

HMCo: What would be your dream creative project? 

Most of my work to date has been site specific within the white cube gallery space. A dream project would be to cover an entire facade of a beautifully designed architectural building with hand built porcelaneous objects or to create a major suspended ethereal installation in a foyer with objects illuminated with LED Lights.

HMCo: While you are based o/s – what do you miss most about Australia?

I’ve been based in Jingdezhen China for 6 years – for me it’s the hustle and bustle I’m attracted to there, the realisation of ideas in a short period of time and accessibility to materials and processes. It’s a fast paced life and I thrive on it, although I often miss the Australian bush, the diversity of our land here is like nothing I’ve seen elsewhere in the world.

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