GAIL NICHOLS

T: (+61) 02  4842 8133
E: gailnichols@optusnet.com.au

born 1953, Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA
lives in Braidwood, NSW

Nichols makes vessels with soft organic forms and lush dimpled glazes that appear to ooze out of the clay itself.  She is intrigued by the interplay of sculptural form and directional firing effects. She aims for close integration of form and surface, achieved through working directly with clay and fire. Her aim is to create beautiful objects. Not just pretty things to look at, but a powerful beauty that quietly overwhelms, moves, and reveals some of what human beings are capable of beyond the ordinariness of existence. 

Nichols earned a degree in mechanical engineering, and then worked on an irrigation project in northwest Malaysia before moving to Australia in 1978, where she began her ceramics studies. Her first experiments with soda glazing began in 1989 in her inner-Sydney studio. In 1996 she began postgraduate study at Monash University, Churchill, VIC, under supervision of Dr Owen Rye.  Nichols' clay and firing research led to a full-time research candidacy, and she completed a PhD in 2002 at the same institution. She is recognized internationally for her innovative approach to soda glazing, and has published a book on the subject, Soda Clay and Fire (American Ceramic Society, 2006). Nichols' studio is now located on a rural property near Braidwood, New South Wales.