Fremantle artist wins in World Crafts Council Awards

LYN DI CIERO

Sandra Black in her Fremantle studio.

Fremantle artist Sandra Black has been named as the only Western Australian winner of the World Crafts Council Asia Pacific Region Craft Master 2023 Award. Announced in Dongyang in China, the event is spearheaded by the World Crafts Council Asia Pacific Region and honours craft practitioners with over 30 years professional practice and an outstanding contribution to the development of crafts. First held in 2008 for Chinese artists only, the Award has expanded to include central, south, west, south east and east Asia, as well as the South Pacific, comprising Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific islands. The Award aims to promote and preserve traditional crafts as well as highlight global artisans and their valuable cultural contribution.
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An international jury of eleven evaluated artists based on their extraordinary contribution to their field, the level of knowledge transferred to others, the use of sustainable materials, international recognition, a continuous aim to learn and international collaborations. In all around 43 applications were received across the South Pacific region, with nine winners selected for the 2023 Award.
 
Black says although  information to participate in the Award was widely distributed by local craft advocate Jude van der Merwe, who is also Vice President of the World Crafts Council, and local artist Bernard Kerr, she was reluctant to apply. “I didn’t think I would in anyway qualify as there were so many others more deserving of this honour,” she says.
 
Over 50-plus years of practice, Black has been referenced in over 20 books as a leading practitioner in porcelain. She was the first person to work exclusively in porcelain in WA, and developed porcelain and bone china in collaboration with clay chemists Mike Kusnik and Dr Owen Rye. Black has been teaching since 1971, holding workshops in Australia and internationally since 1980. She has had 33 solo exhibitions to date, both in Australia and abroad in Canada, New Zealand and the US, and has exhibited in over 300 group exhibitions around the world. Frequently described as an icon of Australian ceramics, she has been artist in residence in China and India, and contributed internationally as a delegate to the first International Ceramics Symposium in China in 2012, and locally as the inaugural president of the Clay and Glass Association of WA, together with 25 years as a committee member of the Ceramic Arts Association of WA.
 
She say teaching has been a strong focus of her practice, having benefitted herself from many mentors and lecturers who encouraged, developed and nurtured her skills, and then created employment opportunities for her as a ceramic tutor. “Thousands of students have passed through the various courses I have run,” she says, “many going on to become practising ceramic artists, gallerists, curators and teachers. The greatest pleasure I derive from my practice is seeing individual students’ wellbeing and joy in discovering their own creative abilities.” 
 
Black’s work is represented in over 70 collections in Australia and overseas, including every major State and Territory institutional collection in Australia. 
Banksia Stack vessel, 2021, cast carved pierced and polished ebony porcelain, 37.7h x 10mw by Sandra Black. Photo Victor France. 

Dark Vine, 2022, cast carved and pierced ebony porcelain, 10.3h x 19.3w, by Sandra Black. Photo Peter Zuvela. 

Etched Vessel 2, 2019, 9.1cmh x 8.6cmw, Etched Vessel 4, 11.5cmh x 8.8cmw, and Etched Bowl 1, (front) 4.7cmh x 12.7cmw by Sandra Black, all thrown, turned, pierced and polished midfire. Photo Victor France. 

Misty Ranges 2, 2022,  cast white and ebony porcelain, clear glaze and photo decal, 13.7h x 17.7w x 10.5d, by Sandra Black. Photo Peter Zuvela.

Misty Ranges 5, 2023, cast mid fire white and ebony porcelain with photo decals, 12cmh x 22w x 12.5d, by Sandra Black. Photo Peter Zuvela. 

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