Meet the maker: Christina Mclean


Meet the maker: Christina Mclean
Tell us a bit about you and your creative practise
I’m an obsessed mark maker and hoarder of textiles. I’ve been pretty fortunate in my life, in that I’ve worked across a lot of disciplines, so I’ve had a lot of variety. My creative journey began with ceramics back in the 90’s with Chowk Ceramics, painting designs and pattern onto clay. From clay I moved into textiles, where I was able to develop prints for some of the best Australian Fashion Brands. My latest incarnation TRADE the MARK, builds on both of these earlier practices. I’m trying to work in a more mindful way, to develop work that is relevant and made with materials that would stand the test of time.
The markings on your ceramics are beautiful and intricate, tell us about this technique that makes your work so unique.
Ahhh, the sgraffito detail. I started using this technique back when I had Chowk. The technique itself is ancient, it’s been used on pottery and stucco wall decoration for centuries. Painting layers of colour onto a surface and etching back into the layers to create patterns. I tend to use the technique in a more contemporary way, using bold colour and graphic marks, with the sgraffito line work tying it all in together. Sometimes I spend hours etching away on the one piece. It’s incredibly time consuming, yet I find it quite meditative at the same time. It’s my way of marking the clay with my imaginings.
You make lots of vessels for plants, what do you love about making homes for greenery?
I’ve always been an avid gardener and lover of plants. I’m at my happiest when I’m out in nature and with my hands in the dirt. I recall I was bringing more and more plants indoors and realised I wasn’t finding the right vessels that I needed to house them all in. I wanted to hang some of my plants and so for them, I wanted them to be in pots that had character and punch. Like most things, if I can’t find what I want, I make it. TRADE the MARK is a culmination of all the things I love. Plants are a big slice of my world. So marrying the right plant, with the right pot, for the right person, means a lot to me.
What's your fave indoor plant and why?
That’s a tough one, there’s so many. I’d have to say at the moment Selenicereus anthonyanus or Zig Zag cactus. I have my two favourites hanging in a sunny corner of my lounge room. I find them to be really versatile as an indoor and outdoor plant.  Just keep in mind that if they’re indoors they need a lot of light. I’m drawn to the cascading fleshy leaves, they’re such a great shape for a hanging planter and the geometric leaves are so dramatic.
Portrait photography by Aimee Thompson

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