Melbourne, Australia – Jan, 2014 - From amidst the rapidly evolving hard arts hub of Melbourne’s Abbotsford Convent, multi-faceted ceramicist, musician and architect Colin Hopkins has released a fully hand thrown architectural lighting range - Dancing Light - introducing large scale dimensions, hand etched surfaces and a ‘singing’ translucency rarely seen in ceramic lighting.
Known in music circles as ‘one of the most interesting improvisers in Australia’1, the VCA trained jazz pianist has more recently focussed his passion towards recording lyrical gestures into finely crafted ceramics. Each one-off luminaire in this range celebrates the unique marks of the making process at every level – the pressure of the fingers into the pliable spinning clay, the deft application of tools carving into the surface to further shape and refine. High firing allows finished pieces to emerge with either the signature translucency or deep tones of oxide rich glazes that highlight the hand textured forms.
After having studied traditional Japanese techniques, and with local ceramic masters Shane Kent and Phil Elson, Hopkins has spent several years perfecting the art of hand throwing specially formulated Australian clay bodies extremely thin so that the objects he creates have a distinctive lightness or ‘dancing’ quality. His mastery of the craft also allows him to throw large scale pendants of dimensions previously not available in ceramic lighting. The most notable feature of the exceptionally fine, translucent Southern Ice porcelain range is the shimmering glow that is not only a delightful source of ambient light, but also allows these shades to stand alone as sculptural objects in their own right. In an ironic twist, each light in this musically inspired series also emits a highly resonant, bell-like tone when gently tapped with a curious finger…
Also a practicing architect, Hopkins has always been concerned with the dramatic influence light and lighting can have on the emotional quality of any space. He believes that “lighting is to space what music scoring is to film – its impact is enormous so it must be of the highest quality - at its best, however, it never draws unnecessary attention to itself”. A restrained, minimalist aesthetic therefore underpins every aspect of these luminaires.
In an era where lighting is increasingly becoming the result of industrial processes, this is a thoroughly refreshing approach relying solely on highly refined master craftsman’s skills. The celebration of natural materials, that includes carbonised bamboo hanging plates on the larger fittings, sits well with the earthier pallet evolving in the design and of many contemporary residential and commercial interiors. There is also an alluring element of chance in the creation of these objects whereby a quiet ‘swaying’ occurs during the intense kiln firing process - a quality highly prized in Japanese ceramics that aids to further emphasise the flowing organic nature of each finished piece.
This is a wholly Australian product with all materials and supplier partnerships being sourced locally. An emphasis on sustainability has kept waste and environmental impact to a minimum and the recycling of materials plays a major role in production.