Caitlin Robson is a multidisciplinary artist who works with ceramics, charcoal and graphite to create abstract interpretations of the female form. Signature to her style is an embracing of softness and her works are soothing to behold with their flowing, curvilinear forms.
We spent some time with her in her bright home in Sydney’s Inner West and paid a visit to her communal studio space to watch the artist at work.
A.L. How long might you spend making one of your pieces?
The process varies depending on the size and complexities of the design. In general, a piece will take a couple of days to build. Since my handbuilding style is quite refined, there is a lot of attention to detail and quite a few steps along the way that require using different tools to achieve the desired finish. I’m often building multiple pieces at once, and there are several time-sensitive steps to be aware of; it requires focus and organisation to work across different pieces at the same time. I couldn’t do it without my daily to-do lists.
The sculpture needs to be completely air-dried before it's ready to be fired. The first firing, known as the bisque firing, dries out the body, then it allows you to glaze your piece, and it's ready to be put back into the kiln to mature at an extremely high heat creating the completed work.
A single sculpture can take weeks to reach a stage of completion. Hand building is a labour of love, but one I simply can’t get enough of.
A.L. Where have you been looking for inspiration lately?
The greats in sculpting and art, Jean Arp in particular.
I often mood-board to get inspired. I find solace in nature, from the many beautiful organic shapes and forms. I would always suggest, if you’re trying to get inspired, to get out of your everyday environment and look out over somewhere new with intention.
A.L. How would you describe your style? Do you have a work uniform?
My style is minimal and relaxed. My clothes are constantly covered in clay dust at the studio, so an apron is my go-to studio work uniform. I often wear workwear pants, denim, oversized shirting and linen. Working such long days, I prioritise being comfortable.
A.L. As well as making ceramic works, you also dabble in other art practices. Tell us about that?
I’m a multidisciplinary artist whose focus prior to my ceramic career was predominantly drawing large interpretations of the female body, using charcoal and graphite. It opened up a door to explore the female form through other mediums and expand on my practice. I found clay during this process, and it took hold of me. I became infatuated and loved that there was so much room to learn and grow within the world of ceramics.
I often draw subconsciously from the female form when I am working on my ceramics. I find everything comes back to the familiar representation of the body for me.
A.L. What are you doing to take some time for yourself at the end of this year?
I’ve been working on my upcoming collection launching in December of this year, so it will be nice to take a little breather this summer.
I plan to spend the holidays with loved ones, maybe go down South for a little getaway. This year has had some intense energy as it comes to a close, but I'm humbled by the lessons and looking forward to jumping back into work in the New Year with many exciting projects to focus on. Even though as a small business owner, it never really stops.
A.L. Lastly, have you read, listened to or watched anything interesting lately?
I’m currently reading Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers by Leonard Koren.
My friend gave me an old ceramic book from the 60s with interesting techniques for firing and hand building, so I’ve been reading that too.
In the studio, I usually flow between music, podcasts and audiobooks. There’s lots of time to listen while creating in the studio. I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts on human connection, connection with self and all topics of health and wellness. It’s been important for me lately to check in with myself to ensure that I’m feeling grounded and supporting myself during such a busy time of year.