Mollie Bosworth Ceramist - Queensland, Australia

You use laser prints and imagery can you expand on how you use this on your ceramics?

I develop my images using Photoshop and print them onto waterslide decals using a laser printer. They are transferred onto the polished clay surface after the first firing (bisque) and then fired to porcelain temperature – 1300oC. The iron oxide in the toner is all that remains and this produces a sepia colour image.

You also use your own photographs. Is this a recent, new approach?

I have been developing images from my collection of photos, particularly flora. These are altered and overlaid in various ways. I also use a scanner to develop images of leaves and flatter objects.

Many of the themes are related to your environment – tropical Australia. Can you describe how this inspires you?

Living within the rainforest and being a passionate gardener is sometimes reflected in my work, not always in a direct way. I have a love of layering images and colours reflecting of the abundant growth in my surroundings. I like to pick up on the subtle aspects of my environment – the small details.


The colour of your environment is very bright and your ceramics are very subdued, can you discuss this?

My work is often driven by the attributes of the materials and processes I choose to explore. Most of my work uses pure white porcelain with very little use of glaze in recent years. High fired colours are often more subtle. Some of my series use coloured clays or water soluble colours, both materials giving fairly subdued colour on unglazed surfaces.

‘Remember the Evergreen’

Can you discuss three pieces that have recently given you great pleasure, both in the working and as finished pieces?



This was my first complete design developed from images of flowers in my garden. The design was inspired by a Qing dynasty all over design, ‘Hundred Flower Ground’. I have printed it with different magnifications, and it is always a jig saw puzzle to fit on to a curved surface.



This series was the result of research with layering laser decals and porcelain slip over the image. They were fired up to 6 times, and I like the way the light reveals the hidden layers.

Copper Acid Drops

‘Copper Acid Drops’

In my last reduction firing, I had a few vases with a pattern using a soluble copper colorant. This technique is difficult to apply, difficult to fire and results are unpredictable so it great when I get a lovely surprise.

The surface of your work is highly polished, can you expand on why you use this technique?

I use mostly Southern Ice porcelain which after firing is very smooth, dense and vitrified. Polishing the surface both after the bisque and glaze firings with wet and dry sandpaper gives a very satisfying smooth and tactile surface. It is a very different feel to a glazed surface. Also the colour, translucency and aesthetic of the work are enhanced by the polished surface.

Your work is very translucent, how are you able to get this very fine work and still have pieces that are practical?

The pieces are thrown as thin as possible and then ‘turned’ when leather hard. This is where excess clay is shaved off and the form is refined. Porcelain fired to 1300oC is very dense and strong even though thin. Not all my works aims to be ‘practical’ in the functional sense and especially not the unglazed pieces.

Pattern: can you expand on two patterns you have used and where you gained the inspiration?

Indigo Mesh

As the work with cobalt chloride and resists, resembled Indigo dyed fabric, I was inspired to further research the patterns made with indigo in traditional societies and bring some of that pattern making to my work.


This series was my first venture into laser decals. I have collaged images from ‘Queensland Flora’ published 1900, images I have developed of insects and butterflies with botanical text.

You are a member of the Australian Ceramics Association; how important is the membership to your exposure?

It is the peak national body for ceramics. Membership benefits include inclusion in the ACA online directory and affordable public and professional liability, both being valuable to my arts practice. I have also had exposure in the Journal of Australian Ceramics that is published by the ACA. Being selected to participate in a curated members exhibition in Sydney in 2011, gave great exposure to my work. This year the ACA are organising an ‘Open Studio Ceramics Australia Showcase’ (17th & 18th August, 2013) where potters all around Australia will open their studios on the same weekend. This will receive nation-wide publicity and raise the awareness of handmade ceramics, how it is made and where potters are located.

‘Seed Narrative’

You did your ceramics training in Canberra. This was a very deliberate decision. Can you explain how this came about?

I was mainly a self-taught potter with little access to formal training. My practice was centred on functional work for many years until there was a decline in sales as cheap Asian imports moved in. I was ready to move on and explore new areas and work on more researched exhibition work. I wanted to hone my skills and reflect on what I was doing, so I took the opportunity to do the distance course offered by Australian National University. The networking and exposure to a range of techniques and tutors was excellent for ceramists like myself working in isolation.

Seeds from ‘Scattered Possibilities’

Can you take us inside your studio and explain the area and equipment you use?

My studio is concealed under one section of my house, looking out onto the garden. I have added on an extension in recent years to house the kiln increasing my work area. The space is mostly enclosed but I get occasional rats and pythons passing through. I use a medium sized gas kiln. I have 2 pottery wheels, a slab roller, extruder, several tables, benches and a sink with running water and lots of shelving for storage. I need to keep a lot of materials on hand as the closest pottery suppliers are 1600 kilometres away.


Contact Details


Mollie Bosworth, Queensland, Australia

Interview by Deborah Blakeley, June, 2013