Port Douglas Magazine Issue 12 - page 27

TO WITNESS THE WONDER of this full time artist’s work
is a gift but to appreciate her craftsmanship you must carve
away 30 years of being a self-employed potter; a livelihood
requiring time, experimentation, patience, accuracy and a
desire to produce art that’s skillfully made, saleable and offers
enormous satisfaction. Welcome to Ellen Terrell’s world; a
conveyancing clerk who once worked in legal firms but “took
a risk of making a living from art”, says Ellen.
There’s something mysterious about this potter though; it’s
how she shines. Ellen uses an ancient form of lustre decoration
with its earliest applications said to be in Iraq around 9AD
then further worked in Egypt, Italy, Spain and Britain until the
1900s. Ellen also uses sgraffito to carve her patterns adding
lustre by breaking down silver and copper using acid and
mixing this with porcelain paste. Throwing a pot, trimming,
waxing, glazing, decorating and three critical firing stages take
practice, precision and approximately 32 hours. The result is
stoneware pottery beaming with permanent beauty.
A life in New Guinea and now the Daintree, her “endless
storehouse of patterns and ideas”, also inspire Ellen’s
interpretative works produced with rainforest seeds and fruit.
Another hub however equally feeds her soul where she’s part
of the founding committee at Douglas Arts Base (DAB) Studio
Gallery; Mossman’s non-profit arts centre where a decade
of exhibitions and workshops are a “testament that a little
bit of art in everyone’s life goes a long way to keeping you
sane”. The same goes for the Port Douglas Sunday markets.
“When artists can interact with the public there’s always a
much greater appreciation of work and skill” adds Ellen,
and whether it’s decorative
or practical, comprehending
the commitment one makes to
his or her craft, first hand, is
The world is a better place
because Ellen Terrell didn’t
seek help for her early clay
cravings but just imagine how wonderfully artistic the legal
offices would’ve looked. Ellen is now working on partially
glazed sculpture with jewel-like lustre to once again fire up
our imagination; the only thing we’re ever limited by.
Ellen Terrell’s current works are available for sale at the
Port Douglas Market each Sunday. She has also presented
exhibitions and workshops with;
• Port Douglas Galleries of Fine Art
• Cairns Regional Gallery
• Radisson Treetops Resort
• QLD Regional Arts Development Fund
• Douglas Arts Base &Woodford Folk Festival - Visual Arts
| 0407 756 338
Every Sunday at Market Park: Local craftsmanship: 8am - 1.30pm
Studio Gallery, 11 Mill St, Mossman, tel: 4098 3337,
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