Justine Wellman

Justine Wellman lives on Yuin Country,  Milton on the NSW South Coast.

I studied Visual Arts at Newcastle University and NSW TAFE Colleges in West Wollongong & Bomaderry. In only what I can describe as a whim, I changed focus from art, and went on to study horticulture.  In the horticultural area I stayed for nearly 2 decades, working various fields, culminating in owning a retail nursery and landscape business.  It captivated my creativity with flora and making gardens.  I love plants, I can spend infinite time twirling a flower in my fingers, looking at its construction and form, the way the glistening shades of colour fade through a petal. I could talk about the shapes of leaves juxtaposed against other leaves in contrast for hours, or the sinewy bark of a gum tree, or rattle off a few botanical names even though no one asked me. The perfect state of a flower in comparison to a fading, chewn or misshapen bloom holds the same wonder.

It wasn’t until my youngest of 5 children started school, did the need for creating art start growing again.

There is something primal about clay, it is from the earth, plants grow in it, humans have dug clay and sculpted it for eons. Through my art practice and process, I’m continually observing and engaged with the natural world, evoking a visual connection to a subject, whether it be a flower, a feeling or a memory. Some of my ceramic vessel sculptures also have adjoined woven components.  I collect the grass myself, processing it into rope that I then hand stitch to a ceramic piece. The clay and the grass grow together. The combination of the two mediums complement each other, I like finding connection through colour or shape. Two mediums that never really live alone, relying on each other for structure and completeness.

Justine Wellman is part of the exhibition Ground Up showing at Gallery Alchemy through September.