Valerie Willy

Valerie was born in Nottingham, England, and came to Australia at the age of 6 years.

From the Art Teachers' nightmare at secondary school, unable to produce on demand, Valerie decided to make a living from her own Raku fired whimsical sculptures. It has been a gradual process. During years as an Occupational Therapist, school teacher, then full-time mother, clay has gradually assumed a major role in her life; Valerie believes she is addicted to it. Valerie greatest joy comes from transforming a lump of mud into a caricature that will make her and others smile and feel happy. Valerie's work is her statement - it is about love and joy and fun. It says there is always someone to love you and laugh with you, even if it is a ceramic 'dawg'.

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Valerie usually uses hollow slab construction methods and Raku fires her sculptures. They are bisk fired to 1050 C. After cooling they are glazed and fired again to 1050 C and removed from the kiln while red hot. They are placed in bins of combustible materials which ignite. The bins are then tightly closed to provide a reduction burning atmosphere (i.e. burning with little oxygen); this turns the clay black and gives the glazes their characteristic crackle effect. This technique of firing is based on an ancient Japanese method. Valerie loves the immediacy, the unpredictability and the exiting colour effects produced by Raku firing.

Valerie's numerous solo and mixed exhibitions and of Raku firing prize winning occasions span from 1994 to now and range from exhibitions on Sunshine Coast, Brisbane and Tasmania.

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