Amelia Black

In my work, I’m drawn to questions of placehood, examining the intricate relationship between clay materials and the environment. While there's often a romanticized notion of geo-regional pottery practices tied to the land, the reality of modern ceramics is deeply globalized, relying on extensive supply chains of mined materials sourced worldwide.

In this series, I’ve intentionally decided to use clay as a canvas, specifically the only terracotta made entirely from Australian-sourced materials. This was important to me because as a white American making work on the lands of the Wurundjeri War Wurrung peoples, I wanted to pay my respects to the land and make work that had a documented relationship to Country.

Inspired by the dappled light along the Merri Creek,  I worked in collaboration with the elements - sometimes waiting for a cloud to pass or a wind gust to die down - to record the shadows cast by native trees in short videos that we translated onto clay through the techniques of water etching and burnishing.

As a ceramicist and material researcher, my creative practice extends beyond shaping clay and is ultimately an attempt to shape conversations. It's about crafting vessels that can hold the stories of our connection to nature. In doing so, I aspire to invite reflection and exploration of individual relationships with the material world.


Amelia Black (she/they) is an American artist and material researcher currently residing on the unceded land of the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung people. They studied Designed Objects at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2006). From 2008 to 2020, Black lived in New York City, earning an MFA in Design Criticism from the School of Visual Arts (2010) and collaborating with figures and institutions like Natalie Jeremijenko, George Trakas, the Noguchi Museum, Arup and IDEO. Relocating to Australia in 2020, Black focuses on a practice-based research approach to clay and ceramics, seeking a more connected relationship with materials and landscape in response to the current environmental crisis.

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IMAGE > Amelia Black in their studio. Image courtesy of the artist.