Sad Face (Time After Time)

By Ebony Russell

piped porcelain, stain, glaze & lustre                                          

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"Sad Birthday’’ - There is a universal understanding of that essentially bittersweet essence to one’s birthday. We can all in some way relate to that feeling of being celebratory and ecstatic for all that we are and all that we have, whilst at once feeling a sense of mourning – of the loss of who we were and what might have been and the sort of inherently inextricable angst we often feel about how to appropriately capture all that in an acceptably festive way.

The process of piping faces is a kind of catharsis for me, a way of speaking to that essential dilemma, of tapping into that unspoken longing for that which can never be really satisfied, only decorated, embellished, or consumed.


Ebony Russell is an Australian ceramic artist who uses an unorthodox approach to construct ceramic sculptures. Her unique technique was developed out of an interest in gendered aesthetics, labour and traditional craft practices where Russell methodically pipes porcelain in series of intricate layers to build gravity- defying forms.

Challenging the traditional making processes of decorative vessels; in her works the decoration becomes the structure, and the boundaries between the two are erased. Exploring established perceptions of cultural and artistic practices that were once exclusively coded as feminine and thus insignificant, Russell’s work celebrates the decorative, promiscuous aesthetics and politics of purity; the superficial, excess and delight – with pleasure.

Ebony Russell completed a Bachelor of Applied Arts (Honours) at Monash University in 2003 and in 2019 graduated from The National Art School Sydney with a Masters of Fine Art. Russell has won many awards including the Franz International Rising Star Award in 2018 and the Meroogal Women’s Art Prize.

Major exhibitions include 'Think Pinker', Gavlak Gallery, Los Angeles - 2023, 'SABOTAJE ESTEìTICO', Yusto Giner Gallery, Spain - 2022, 'Halcyon Days', Modern Eden Gallery, San Francisco - 2022, 'Clay Dynasty', The Powerhouse Museum, Sydney - 2022, 'Interconnected', NERAM - 2022.