Cathy Franzi is a full-time studio artist and was awarded a Doctorate of Visual Arts (Ceramics) from the Australian National University School of Art in 2015. Through her ceramic practice she explores ways to represent Australian flora and the environments they inhabit. Her work is underpinned by an interest in the historic interplay between culture and study of nature. This led to the research of ceramics, prints and botanical illustrations in museums and galleries around the world. She is fascinated in the cultural values attributed to plant species, their interconnection within ecosystems and how botanical and environmental knowledge might be expressed.
Cathy has developed a distinctive textural approach to representing Australian flora, adapting aspects of relief printmaking methods and composition to the ceramic medium. By creating her own materials, tools and processes she reflects this influence, where her final work evokes the surface sheen of printed ink and remnant texture reveals each hand gesture. A plant’s character is expressed in vessel form through techniques on the wheel, with colour through glazes, and its morphology through mark making into the Limoges porcelain surface.
Botanical research is fundamental to the integrity of Cathy’s work and is supported by her Bachelor of Science from the University of Sydney. In preparation for a body of work, time is spent in the field observing, drawing and photographing plants. Whether accompanying botanists, or in a herbarium or seed bank, insights and methods of scientific research inform and become embedded in her studio practice.
Cathy Franzi’s work is held in public collections, including Canberra Museum and Gallery, the ACT Legislative Assembly Art Collection and Manly Art Gallery and Museum. In 2013, a work from her solo exhibition ‘Painting the Hills of Canberra’ was included in the Canberra Centenary Time Capsule. She has been the recipient of a number of awards including the Australian Postgraduate Award, the Nelson Nichols Scholarship in Ceramics and most recently in the 2016 North Queensland Ceramic Awards. Currently she is a Visiting Fellow in the Research School of Biology, ANU as part of the 2016 Vice-Chancellor’s College Artist Fellows Scheme.