Kelly Austin: In search of place
In November 2021, I was artist in residence at Q Bank Gallery in Queenstown, Tasmania.
An Elemental Persistence was made in response to this experience.
Queenstown snuggles into the base of Mount Owen (1146 m), a prominent peak on the western side of the West Coast Range. This impressive collection of mountains runs north to south on Tasmania’s west coast, following the Mount Read volcanic arc. Mining has dominated this area since the late 1800s, unsurprising given prehistoric tectonic events and the resultingly rich mineralised belt running underground. While the use of mined materials is a key part of working as a ceramic artist, until this point my understanding of the mining industry was limited. I had, rather romantically, collected clay at the side of riverbanks and on farms, but the reality of an industrial mine is far from romantic and getting closer to that truth was of interest.