Shifting Lines by Justine Allison
‘The sun shines through the dusty windows of Justine Allison’s rural workshop in mid Wales. But there is nothing rustic about the refined porcelain vessels that are caught in the light. Hand built from thin slabs of clay she creates precise forms - beakers, pourers and sharp-edged vases decorated minimally with line. Sometimes this is a simple dark line around the middle although her signature decoration uses parallel lines of blue, black or pale green on the translucent white porcelain. Justine Allison’s ceramics are skilfully made, precious to touch and a delight to the eye.’
Professor Moira Vincentelli
Consultant Curator of Ceramics, Aberystwyth University
Hand building is one of the cornerstones of ceramic practice. It is also dynamically affected by the choice of clay, its preparation, the atmospheric conditions and the hand of the maker. So much can go awry; cracking, blistering, separation. It is the skilled maker that works with these fallibilities to produce forms that have both vitality and strength.
Justine judges the weight, thinness and dampness of the rolled clay in order to be able to manipulate it effectively whilst allowing it to find its own form. Hand building with porcelain brings additional challenges because porcelain moves and shrinks substantially as it dries and is fired to a high temperature of 1400°C. It is when the porcelain is in its molten form that it vitrifies. This is the transformation of the dense clay body into partially glass-like, translucent ceramic. It now holds and transfers light and gives the porcelain a luminosity that brings it to life.
Justine’s practice has rigorously investigated these aspects and fluctuations. The seeming simplicity of each piece of work belies the painstaking process and accumulation of physical experience that has brought it into being.
Through her intricately made vessels, Justine considers the balance between form and function. She reflects fixed and shifting lines in urban and rural landscapes. She explores edges that define form yet convey movement. The outcome of Justine’s tenacious approach is a body of work that is eloquent and uplifting.