To mark the launch of our new season shade Cobalt, we invited eight artists to join our Artist in Residence series and exhibit their cobalt-hued works in Assembly Label stores around Australia and New Zealand.
Artist Britt Neech was halfway through a fashion degree when she started working with clay, and as the saying goes, you can’t fight fate. What started out as a creative outlet became an experimental practice, and in the past few years Britt, who works under the name Clae Studio, has transitioned into being a full-time artist. “I’ve established a style that I feel is personal to me and have created a Core Collection of works for Clae Studio,” Britt says. “My practice is always slowly evolving, and over time pieces have been introduced or retired from my offering.”
An alchemic colour like cobalt feels completely at home sitting within Britt’s Clae Studio collection, but bright hues are a more recent addition. “I usually work with neutrals so such a vibrant colour is quite the departure for me,” says Britt. “This particular shade of blue just jumped out at me and once I tested it on my pieces I fell in love! It was time for me to try something new and introducing a bold colour felt like a fun way to do that.” And there’s nothing surface-level about Britt’s use of colour. Before adding the cobalt to the ceramic, Britt creates a subtle texture “that brings all the sand and grit in the clay to the surface”. This texture, she says, “adds an element of depth and visual interest allowing the ‘Klein’ blue to really come to life”.
Having the freedom to create without expectations or constraints is essential to Britt’s artistic process. “For the past two years I’ve been living and practicing on unceded Boon wurrung (Bunurong) land — the beautiful Mornington Peninsula,” says Britt, who will spend a day “playing around” in her studio to get ideas flowing. “Often these experiments don’t immediately provide inspiration but then weeks or months later something may click and it will be the foundation of new work.”
Outside her studio, Britt tunes into the world around her for creative inspiration. “It’s important to gather inspiration from lots of sources so that my work feels true to me and my experiences. I try to notice what captures and holds my attention. I take photos of shapes and textures, whether that be the negative space between tree branches or an interesting wall in the city.”
The Klein-coloured Clae Studio ceramic vessels and dishes marry Britt’s search for newness with her appreciation for enduring beauty. “The colour of these works fosters a sense of peace, contemplation, mystery and expansiveness,” she says. “It’s timeless.”
Britt’s Artist in Residence work will be available to purchase after the exhibition. For enquiries, contact https://www.claestudio.com