Don't Leave Your Dishes in the Bedroom by Sick Ceramics

The dishes are piling up. It’s getting cold. The door must stay ajar for the cat. There’s snot on the shower wall, and the washing machine has a new leak. The dishes just keep piling up...

Don’t Forget the Dishes in Your Bedroom explores the juxtaposition between comfort and discomfort in day-to-day home life. It’s both a gentle reminder to take care, and an acknowledgement that one’s current lifestyle may not be ideal and can be overwhelming.

The exhibition brings the viewer into Nicholson’s experience of flatting in Pōneke and focuses on the challenges of living with strangers out of necessity, staying in poor quality housing, and maintaining self-care through challenging times.

The exhibit features an eclectic mix of ceramic works made between Pōneke and Kapanga. The works are diverse in aesthetic, form and function, and the mix and mess of pieces show the complexities of living in a shared flat while trying to manage and improve poor physical and mental health.

The exhibition-turned bedroom invites the viewer to reflect on their intimate spaces - what’s in those spaces, what are their treasured objects, and how do they use their spaces to care for themselves in times of change and challenge?

Nicholson has always viewed her bedroom as a place of safety. She has always taken pride in her most private of spaces. The exhibition marks an end of an era as she prepares to leave the city and flat within which she has lived for many years - a bittersweet goodbye of sorts.

Jess Nicholson is a 26 y/o kaihanga rīhi (ceramicist) from Ngāi Tahu, and has been practising ceramics for two years. Nicholson works with both commercial and found clays, and she has a special interest in finding and processing her own clay - which she in turn calls Matapaia Māori.

Nicholson uses her work to explore her relationships with physical pain, mental illness, missing cultural connections, and hostile living environments.

She uses throwing and handbuilding techniques in tandem. By throwing the initial work, she creates smooth and comforting pieces, which she then intentionally disrupts by adding handbuilt barbs, spikes, wires and chains. Her pieces are visually hostile, yet physically comfortable to hold and use. By adding these hostile elements to traditional ceramic homewares, Nicholson wants to make you ask - ‘are you happy, healthy, and comfortable in your own home?

Nicholson makes the majority of her ceramics at the Wellington Potters Association and has also completed two artist residencies at the Driving Creek Pottery in Kapanga (Coromandel). Her piece, Can’t Chain-ge, was a selected finalist for the 2021 Rick Rudd Emerging Practitioners in Clay award, and she has exhibited work in Quartz Museum of Studio Ceramics, and the New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts.

From July 2022, Nicholson will be visiting the United Kingdom, where she will be honing her ceramics practice in a new and foreign environment. On return to Aotearoa, she will be completing a diploma in ceramics at the Otago Polytechnic and hopes to further establish herself as a ceramic artist and teacher.



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