After 3 decades at his potter's wheel, Ted Secombe says that making pots is more challenging now than when he first began, as his motivation is the purely the expression of his ideas and creativity. He has now developed a mastery of the medium that allows him to take his experimentation further than ever before.
Ted likes to work with different shapes and now prefers much simpler forms, forms with the sense of an easy curve, 'like a brush stroke'. 'My inspiration comes when the clay is on the wheel and I am looking at the sensuousness of the curve,' he says. Sometimes he is influenced by the structure of plants and leaves. Ted' s other passion is gardening and he has created a glorious two-acre garden around his studio.
While the grace and size of the pots is impressive, the glazes Ted uses are rich in colour, and delicate in texture and patterning.
Ted Secombe is well known for his beautiful crystalline glazes, as well as his pots of cobalt blue and deep crimson. He works with a huge range of colours and, as with his forms, Ted is now experimenting and developing a new range of glazes, some of which are reminiscent of ancient Chinese glazes. The new glazes involve different firing procedures and Ted is attempting to achieve the best possible results by altering the time and temperature of the firing.
The colours in his garden are also an inspiration to him, and his glazes in autumnal colours are a direct response to the autumn season in Victoria. Ted lived in Queensland for many years, originally establishing a studio in Toowoomba in 1979, before he moved to the Yarra Valley in 1989.
Ted and his partner Ann set up a luxury B&B in the Yarra Valley, and ran that for 9 years selling in 2006, they have now built a new home and studio with Gallery for viewing sill in the Yarra Valley at Dixon's Creek.
Ted Secombe's work has been exhibited throughout Australia and in Sendai, Morioka and Sapporo in Japan. In 2001 he was invited to show a selection of pots in an exhibition of the world's ten top crystalline glaze technologists, in Leeuwarden, Holland, and his pots received great acclaim. Ted's work is in many public and private collections, and he now receives commissions to produce large ceramic works for corporations and hotels in Australia, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong and Shanghai.
"My need to create vessels of monumental size is driven by a desire to challenge myself as a maker. Being involved in large ceramic vessel production increases awareness of the diversity of skills required to bring about a successful outcome.
Complex problem areas of creation are magnified as vessel size increases. Meticulous planning, advanced throwing skills and physical strength are an integral part of the process.
Glazing poses particular problems as vast surface areas have to be dealt with. Successful pieces of monumental size have a presence that small pieces cannot emulate.
Monumental beautifully formed vessels fill a place of importance in the viewer's imagination. I personally create vessels suited to both grand entrances like those experienced in International hotel lobbies and garden environments where natural elements like sunlight and raindrops can enhance alter or play with form and glaze."
Crystalline glazes are among the most fascinating in the ceramic world. A crystalline glaze is characterised by clusters of various shapes and colours embedded into an otherwise uniform glaze of zinc or calcium. This unpredictable process requires a slow cooling process for the development of the crystals and a great deal of skill from the artist. Through his persistence with the technique, Ted Secombe has become one of world's finest practitioners. One can both see as well as feel the structure of the crystals on the surface of his vessels.
Crystalline is expensive to produce. It is labour intensive, demanding great skill and precise control of materials and processes. It is one of the most challenging techniques a potter can undertake. Metallic oxides and combinations of various materials are used to produce a wide range of colours. These range from dark cobalt blues through to golds, browns, reds, pinks, pearls and greens.
Crystalline glazes require careful application and are fired to temperatures of 1320 C for up to 18 hours. The glaze becomes very fluid at high temperatures and has the tendency to flow from the surface of the pot. Ted Secombe has over the years learned to control this glaze fluidity so each piece has a consistent cover of crystals.
Once the high temperature has been reached, the kiln is rapidly cooled to lower temperatures where the crystals form. As crystal formation requires slow cooling, temperatures are precisely controlled and manipulated for maximum crystal growth within the glaze.
Crystals are formed at random, can take on a myriad of shapes and are three dimensional in nature. The beauty, depth and life expressed in a Crystalline glaze is spectacular and unsurpassed. It is a challenge to even the most experienced and knowledgeable potter.
PERSONAL Born in Australia 1957
EDUCATION Downlands College - Queensland, Australia
Graduated with CBLT Associate Diploma in Medical Technology
Bachelor of Science (Biochemistry)
BACKGROUND Commenced Potting 1979, Self Taught
GROUP - 2014 New Dehli , India
GROUP - 2004 Arts Exclusive Gallery, Simsbury, Connecticut, USA
SOLO - 2003 Arts Exclusive Gallery, Simsbury, Connecticut, USA
SOLO - 2003 Ascension, Warkworth, New Zealand
GROUP- 2001 St. Joseph Galerie-Leeuwarden, Holland. Galleries Mebius-Noordhorn, Holland
SOLO - 1992 & 1994 Sendai, Morioka and Sapporo - Japan
SOLO - 1991 Sendai and Morioka - Japan
2014 - Sabbia Gallery, Paddington NSW
2014,2013,2012 -Ted Secombe Studio - Dixons Creek, Victoria
2004 - 25th Anniversary, at Ted Secombe Studio, Yarra Glen, Victoria
2003,2001,1999,1998 Cloudehill Gardens – Mount Dandenong, Victoria
1997 Daring Gallery - Melbourne, Victoria
1995 Freeman Gallery - Hobart, Tasmania
1992,93,94,95 & ‘98 Golden Canvas - Sydney, N.S.W.
1994 Valley Gallery - Yarra Valley, Victoria
1984,85,87,93 Elgin Gallery - Melbourne, Victoria
1983, 86 Potters Gallery - Brisbane, Queensland
1982 Australia Craft - Queensland
2014, 2013 Skepsi pop-up Gallery at Monsalvat - Eltham, Vic.
Skepsi pop- up Gallery at Whitehorse Town Hall - Box Hill. Vic.
2004 Skepsi Gallery Imperial Porcelain – Carlton, Melbourne
2003 Skepsi Gallery Imperial Porcelain launch – Carlton, Melbourne
1999 Objects Gallery “A Generous Vessel”- Sydney, Australia
1999 & 2000 International Flower Show - Melbourne, Australia. Artisan Gallery - Launceston, Tasmania
1996 Bamfurlong Gallery - Hahndorf, South Australia.
Fusions Gallery - Brisbane, Queensland
1995 Manly Art Gallery & Museum - Potters Society of Australia
1994 Golden Canvas
1991 Bond University - Gold Coast, Queensland. Sojourners Gallery - Melbourne.
1991 Hallworth House - Yarrawonga, Victoria.
1990 Queensland Potters Association - Brisbane, Queensland
1988 Elgin Gallery, Carlton, Melbourne.
1986 State Ceramic Award - Toowoomba, Queensland. Golden Canvas Gallery - Sydney, N.S.W. Queensland Potters - Melbourne, Vic.
1983 Selected Queensland Potters - South Australia
REPRESENTED IN THE FOLLOWING PUBLIC COLLECTIONS
Art Gallery Illinios - U.S.A
Artbank - Sydney, Australia
ANZ Bank - Melbourne, Australia
Auckland Museum - New Zealand
Australian Meat Workers Union Collection
Ballarat Art Gallery - Victoria, Australia
Ceramic Study Group - Sydney, NSW, Australia
Colgate University - New York, U.S.A.
Crown Casino Collection - Melbourne, Australia
Daiko Corporation - Japan
Fujisaki Collection - Japan
Gandell Collection - Melbourne, Australia
Gold Coast City Art Gallery - Queensland, Australia
Hamilton Art Gallery - Hamilton, Victoria, Australia
High Court of Australia
Kamins Collection of Contemporary Art - U.S.A.
MANABI Park Tajimi - Japan
Manly Art Gallery and Museum - N.S.W. Australia
Melbourne Meat Workers Union Collection
Muswellbrook Art Gallery - N.S.W. Australia
National Gallery of Australia - Canberra, Australia
Powerhouse Museum - Sydney, Australia
Queensland Art Gallery - Australia
Queensland Civic Gallery - Australia
Queensland House - London UK
Queensland Potters Gallery Collection - Australia
Queensland State Collection
Shore Collection - Sydney, Australia
Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery - Australia
Warrnambool Art Gallery - Victoria, Australia
Western Australian Art Gallery – Australia
Whitehorse Collection - Melbourne, Australia
MAJOR CORPORATE COMMISSIONS
2012 Yarra Valley Chocolaterie
2011 Etihad Towers, Abu Dhabi,
Epping Plaza, Victoria
2010 Lend Lease Gandel Group, Chadstone
2003, 04 Crown Towers - Melbourne (Art Package)
2000 Westin Plaza Hotel - Singapore (Art package)
Gandel Group - Chadstone Shopping Centre, Melbourne, Aus.
1999 Regent Hotel - Sydney, Australia (Room package 150 pieces)
Island Pacific Hotel - Hong Kong - (Art package)
1998 Ramada Hotel - Hong Kong (Art package)
Shangri-la Hotel - Shanghai China (Art package)
Marriot Hotel - Gold Hill Plaza - Brisbane Australia (Room Package 210 pieces)
Royal North Shore Private Hospital (Art package)
Bond Street Apartments - Sydney. N.S.W. (Art Package)
Crown Towers - Melbourne
Perth Private Hospital - (Art Package)
1997 Ritz Carlton Millennia - Singapore (Art package)
Crown Towers - Melbourne, Australia (Art and Room package 380 pieces)
Sheraton Towers - Kuala Lumpur (Art and Room package 402 pieces)
1996 Ritz Carlton Millennia - Singapore (Art 30 Lobby works and Room package 600 vases)
Conrad Hilton - Singapore (Art package)
Crown Towers - Melbourne, Australia
1994 Laguna Quays Resort - Queensland (Art and room package)
1995 Benalla Mining Co. Pty. Ltd. - Runner-up
1980 -87 Winner of numerous regional ceramic awards
1984, 85, 86 Gold Coast Ceramic Award - Highly Commended
1986 Queensland State Ceramic Award
1986 Fletcher Brown built Merit Award - New Zealand
1985, 86 North Queensland Ceramic Award
1982, 83, 85 Caltex Warana Brisbane Winner
2014 - Ceramic Arts Association of Western Australia. Master Classes Northcote, Melbourne Australia
2013 - Powerhouse Museum - Ceramic Study Group, Sydney, Australia
2002 – Sunshine Coast Potters Group and Wide Bay and Burnett Potters Assn – Sunshine Coast, Queensland.
2001 Warwick - Gladstone - Cairns
2000 North Queensland Potters Assn - Townsville & Charters Towers
1999 Tasmanian Potter’s Society - Devonport, Australia
1998 Macquarie University - Sydney, Australia
1996 Newcastle Potters Studio - N.S.W. Geelong Potters Association - Victoria.
Holmesglen College of TAFE - Victoria. Box Hill College of TAFE - Victoria
1995 Artist in residence, SHORE - Sydney, N.S.W. Lectures to Universities and Colleges
1994 Lectures to Universities and Colleges. Professional workshops conducted
1993 Lectures to Masters Degree Students - Monash University, Vic.
Professional workshops for Ceramic Groups.
1986-87 Lectures to Art Gallery Patrons on Ceramic Appreciation
1982-87 Lectures and Tutorials to Urban and Country Pottery Assns.
1982-83 Lecturer Ceramics - Gold Coast College of TAFE
1981 President - Gold Coast Potters Assn.
TELEVISION PRESENTATIONS AUSTRALIA
2004 Discover Channel 7
2002 Postcard’s Channel 9
1999 Burke’s Backyard Channel 9
1998 Burke’s Backyard Channel 9