Sidney Myer Fund International Ceramic Award 2008

Read about the winners and the judge's comments from the 2008 Award.

Premier Award

Annete Defoort
Dakis, 2008

The 2008 Premier Award was awarded to Annete Defoort (Belgium),Dakis.


I am a self-taught artist who doesn't care about any trend or fashion in art.

That's the essence of my work: two hands in the strength of the earth.

I constantly stay close to the earth, close to the basis and each time new variations  of elementary forms full of dynamism and movement arise from this same earth, this ground, this clay.

My art consists in arbitrarily joining together different slices of clay which were cut into pieces. I build up the sculpture from the inside. I try to treat the clay as seldom as possible from the outside. My sculptures are archetypes of people and animals.

Spontaneity takes control of the process so that the sculpture builds itself without much interfering by myself.

Angela Valamanesh
Animal, Vegetable, Mineral, 2008

The 2008 Friends of Shepparton Art Gallery Society Award of Merit Prize was awarded to Angela Valamanesh (Australia), Animal, Vegetable, Mineral.


The series 'Animal, vegetable, mineral' evolved from work I was making during a residency in Canberra School of Art about two years a go.  While I was there I had access to the Hancock Science Library at Australian National University and much of the imagery used in this series is derived from scientific observations and illustrations.  I have also been interested for many years in the similarities that exist linking human anatomy with plant and mineral matter.  This is of course more obvious when the images come from scientific instruments such as the microscope although even without this aid the links are still there.  Our teeth have roots and we like to look at our family tree.

While I have worked for many years with clay I find it particularly appropriate as a medium for this work.  The technical properties of plasticity in its wet form and its strength once it is fired are obvious attractions.   Especially in its unglazed form it has even more obvious earthy qualities and it is such a common material that we are all somehow connected to.

La Trobe University Award of Merit

Ian Paul Rylatt
Clayrinet, 2008

The 2008 La Trobe University Award of Merit was awarded to Ian Paul Rylatt (United Kingdom), for Clayrinet.


This is a drinking set for coffee/tea. It was inspired by the sculptural qualities inherent in the musical instrument clarinet. Each component is a unique piece in itself which when fitted together with the others makes up the whole of a clarinet.

The title refers to a 1940's tune by Artie Shaw, which I have changed a fraction, to be a play on words in relation to the object. The Concerto for Clayrinet is a celebration of clay and of the clarinet through the social occasion of drinking. It is a celebration of the music of life.

Poyntzpass Pioneer Award of Merit

Merran Esson
Towong Tank, 2008

The 2008 Poyntzpass Pioneer Award of Merit was awarded to Merran Esson (Australia), Towong Tank.


The work explores the role of function in ceramics and references containers from the rural landscape. Containers such as buckets, and water tanks and silos that sit isolated in a paddock, but it is the combining of separate forms and bringing the work back into the home where discovery can take place. Pots are stacked on shelf or sink creating new relationships through serendipity or design. This continues my curiosity in connecting objects together in ways that explore mutual survival. The creation of one complete piece from two objects is part of the inventive process.


The Judge of the Sidney Myer Fund International Ceramic Art Award 2008 was Ah Xian.