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Cecily Gibson, Untitled Stoneware Bowl

Cecily Gibson: Stoneware Bowl

The Artist

Cecily Gibson was born in 1930 and initially took up nursing as a career. Cecily only became interested in pottery while working as a nurse at the Royal Canberra Hospital. She trained with Henri Le Grand at the Canberra Technical College. Here, Cecily was introduced to a wife of a diplomat, who, showed her some examples of Japanese pottery.

I was casually handed a small Japanese pot... and immediately felt an overwhelming sense of exhilaration, impression and enchantment. For the first time....I was a holding a pot for which the potter knew what was truly 'right'.... its effect evoked in me a profound desire to become a potter.;'

Cecily Gibson spent four years in Japan between 1959 and 1964. Initially, Gibson worked at the Tsukamoto factory in Mashiko but then set herself up as a potter in Kyoto taking lesson at the University of Fine Art with master potter, Tomimoto Keknichi. During this time she travelled throughout Japan and Korea. Together with Bernard Sahm, Alex Leckie and Milton Moon, she participated in the landmark International Exhibition of Contemporary Ceramic Art with some of her work being accepted into the permanent collectxion of the Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto in 1965.

On her return to Australia, Gibson built a house and studio in Hughes, Canberra and later added her gallery.  Gibson continued to be an advocate for further artistic relations with Japan. She was a guest at a small private dinner hosted by Prime Minster Sir Robert Menzies for the Crown Princess Chichibu having shared a close  interest in pottery whilst in Japan.

In 1967, both Cecily Gibson and Peter Rushforth were awarded the Churchill fellowship for overseas study which Gibson used to travel around the world. Her travels took Gibson to Mexico and South America where she was inspired by Pre-Columbian art.

Cecily Gibson has held a number of exhibitions of which the last was held in the Watson Arts Centre in Canberra and as noted above, her works are represented both nationally and internationally including locally at the Canberra Museum and Art Gallery.

The Work of Art

The Unviersity of Canberra has just the one example of Cecily Gibson's ceramics. It is a stoneware bowl with broad lines along its surface. It was created by a method known as coil build and is a 'salt-glazed' work of art created in 1970. Flat coils of clay are built up to create large ceramic works and is an alternative method to the potter's wheel. Salt-glazing often leaves a glossy, earthy like finish sometimes described as orange-peel like. Earthy organges interested Gibson as her ceramic forms were meant to provide a flavour of Australian contemporary ceramics and such colours are associated with the land. In other works, her glazes are blue/grey and depict the colours of the gum-trees.

Stoneware bowl by Cecily Gibson

References:

Australian Pottery Word Press: https://australinpottery.wordpress.com//2007/06/15/known-potter-5/

Trove: Cecily Gibson, https://trove.nla.gov.au/list?id=123592

Damon Moon, Cecily Gbson - Obituary: https://damonmoondesign/cecily-gibson-obituary/