Interview by Emily Fuller
I have been endlessly enamoured with the whimsy and delight of Teval Guner’s ceramic creations, from the day I was gifted a gorgeous little succulent pot of her’s. From the poetic beauty of her Lovers series, to the fun and quirky depiction of her Lady vases, Teval’s creations are uniquely bespoke – her organic yet intricate designs provide something totally special and intimate to the Newcastle art scene. I had the pleasure of picking her brain on her creative process, just for you lovely readers to discover and admire!
Tell us a little bit about yourself, and how you discovered your passion for ceramics?
I was born in Sydney, but grew up in Turkey where I finished high school and university. Although my bachelors degree is in Linguistics, I always enjoyed visual arts, and I began with baby steps in oil painting. Whilst beginning my Fine Arts degree in Melbourne, I found myself really drawn to the art of sculpture, and I slowly began to indulge in the pursuance of that. Eventually, ceramics became my art form that I am incredibly passionate about – which prompted me to create my line of Glee Art and Design pieces in Newcastle.
Some of your designs are quite female-focused with your gorgeous lady vases, does femininity influence your creations, and what other elements inspire you?
I am a proud woman and also a mother of two amazing daughters. I have an incredible group of empowering female artists at the Creative Village Newcastle, where a majority of my products are displayed. So, in a way you might be right that I am influenced by the femininity – but I’d like to think that I am more inspired by the love and gratitude I have for those special people in my life.
What type of ceramic items do you enjoy creating the most?
I really love creating the out of the ordinary, organic and quirky pieces that are simultaneously functional as well. I particularly centre my pieces with a wabi-sabi philosophy – which is a Japanese world view based around the acceptance of both transience and imperfection. My favourite personal creations are my ladies, and The Lovers series.
What are some of your greatest challenges as a ceramicist? Do you still struggle with your medium from time to time?
The greatest challenge is practicing patience, and not allowing myself to rush any step of my process and to wait for the kiln for each and every step of the production process. I firstly create a form, and then have to wait patiently for the drying process for at least a week or two. The first firing takes around ten hours to be completed. Once the form has cooled down over night, I glaze it and then wait nearly eight hours for the second firing. I really struggle to wait for the last cooling down process, as I am so eager to see my new creation. So ceramics has definitely taught me patience and the importance of slowing down mindfully.
Ceramics is quite a refined art form, do like to you work with any other mediums or art forms?
When I find myself with some free time or need a break from ceramics, I like to occasionally do printmaking and oil painting.
Where can our readers admire and purchase your art and creations?
You can see me working away in my studio in The Hill, where I create my new items as well as some of my pieces that are created for special orders. I do also have several stockists in Newcastle, Sydney, Mudgee and Morpeth. I am proudly involved with an amazing collective of creative artists known as the Creative Village Newcastle. We have a storefront in Charlestown Square, where the majority of my products can be found and purchased.
Teval’s Instagram: @teval_guner