Rowley believes handmade is best

Ceramic artist Rowley Drysdale.

Nestled in the lush hills of the Cooroy hinterland sits Quixotica Art Space, the creative studio and retreat of ceramic artist, Rowley Drysdale.

Originally from Western Queensland, Rowley is one of Australia’s leading ceramic artists and educators.

A potter for four decades, he is best known for his dedication and achievements in the fields of wood firing, glaze development and ceramics education.

A vocal advocate for handmade objects, craftsmanship and innovation, Rowley believes that work made by hand has a different, more positive energy than objects created by an industrial manufacturing process. Perhaps reflecting this notion, in recent years consumers have increasingly searched for bespoke ceramics in their homes, with a greater appreciation of handmade and local creations.

An extensive body of Rowley’s ceramic work can be seen in the exhibition, Extracts, now on at the Noosa Regional Gallery.

The title reflects many interpretations, including Rowley’s “extraction” of his more dynamic pieces for the exhibition from his vast body of work.

Rowley is well known for his wood fired work, and his exhibition celebrates this, with many of the ceramic pieces showing created by this “hand on” firing process.

As the steps to create wood fired objects are long and complex, experience and patience are required. Rowley refers to his successful pieces as “elegant survivors” of this arduous process, which takes several days for each firing.

The flames can be kind or cruel to wood fired work, but they also provide a unique, unrepeatable outcome for every piece that emerges.

There is also a sense of extraction in that Rowley’s work is created with natural materials – the clay and the unique glaze materials are all extracted from the earth. He often stops by the roadside to investigate strata of soil, clay and rock up close and personal, gathering both materials and inspiration from the rural landscape.

Rowley’s art sanctuary and gallery will also be open this year as part of Noosa Open Studios.

There you can see the space where he creates and fires all his work, and teaches classes and workshops to numerous students of ceramic art. It is a beautiful property with extensive gardens, working kilns, studios and a gallery alongside the dam, where you will also be able to see and purchase more of his latest works. It is a special peek into the creative life of one of Australia’s leading ceramic artists and educators.

Rowley’s exhibition, Extracts, is on now until November 7 at the Noosa Regional Gallery. Quixotica Art Space will be open to the public, as part of Noosa Open Studios, on October 9 to 11 and 16 to 18.

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