Five Questions with Evelyn Hodowany

29 November 2023

Wellington-based ceramicist Evelyn Hodowany is a finalist in this year's Portage Ceramic Awards. Well known for taking inspiration from everyday objects - she received a Merit for her 2022 Portage Ceramics Award collection depicting toilet rolls in ceramics - her new work Procrastination 2, is a study of those never-ending to-do lists immortalised in porcelain.

I asked Evelyn five questions about her new collection, procrastination in general and what she's working on next.

Congratulations on being a finalist in the Portage Ceramic Awards. What does recognition like this mean to you? To your career?

Thank you! Being a finalist in the Portage Ceramic Awards is a huge honour, particularly with John Parker, a revered veteran in ceramic art, as the judge. I'm really excited to see and admire all the different ways artists are using clay. This recognition means a lot to me—particularly as I'm a newcomer to the ceramic art field. It offers a valuable opportunity to exhibit my work among some of Aotearoa's finest.

Your new work is called Procrastination 2. Can you describe your inspiration for this work?

Procrastination 2 is a study of those never-ending to-do lists immortalised in porcelain. It draws its inspiration from the chaos of a cluttered mind. I focus on realism in my art, striving to replicate real objects by meticulously matching textures, colours, and sizes. The items themselves inspire me as they are mundane yet essential elements of our lives. Creating porcelain replicas of paper notes offers a fresh perspective, prompting viewers to re-examine these objects in a new light.

Do you find you suffer from procrastination in your own work life? How do you combat it?

Judging by how long it took me to answer these five questions and reply to you, it seems that, yes, I do suffer from it ;)

I’m also quite the scatterbrain, so I rely heavily on notes and lists to get through the day. I used to have all these post-it notes stuck to my window until I realised it was confusing bees, causing them to bump into it. Sorry bees.

I think we all suffer from a bit of procrastination. We live in a world with an overwhelming amount of information at our fingertips, and feeling like we have 'too many tabs open' in our minds has sadly become a bit of a norm. I’m still working on how to combat it, but I find taking short breaks in nature helps recalibrate the mind.

Do you always consciously create collections around a theme, or do you sometimes discover the theme once you look at the finished pieces?

I do a lot of experiments with clay, creating many test pieces. Sometimes I get a result I love, but I’m not quite sure what to do with it. It sort of stays in the back of my mind until an idea for a collection pops up unexpectedly—something as random as when I’m supermarket shopping or out for a walk. That's when I start working on a collection with that theme in mind. Sometimes, when the idea strikes, it feels fully formed, like a finished piece in my mind. It's an awesome feeling, as if no pieces are missing from the puzzle.

What are you currently working on?

I've done some bronze casting over the past few years, and currently, I'm inspired to blend these methods. The contrast between the strength of bronze and the delicate beauty of porcelain intrigues me.

Evelyn Hodowany is a finalist of the 2023 Portage Ceramic Awards. All finalists works will be on display at Te Uru, Auckland from 24 November 2023 – 3 March 2024. Find out more here.