In a career spanning five decades, Les Blakebrough (born 1930) has become one of Australia’s most acclaimed and influential ceramic artists. His body of work has ranged from earthy functional wares to more recent, delicate forms. The ethereal beauty of these later works emphasises the translucency and fragility of the Southern Ice Porcelain he trademarked and spent more than five years developing. His passionate research and development of the techniques and materials of ceramics have led him on journeys of discovery from studying with master potters in Japan in the 1960s to working with leading manufacturers of industrial ceramics in Scandinavia in the 1990s.
Blakebrough has made an extraordinary contribution to visual art, craft and design in Australia as a practitioner, teacher, mentor and visionary advocate. He has been Director of the Sturt Pottery and Sturt Workshops, a founding member of the Crafts Board of the Australia Council, Head of Ceramics at the Tasmanian School of Art and a Principle Research Fellow at the University of Tasmania. He has been awarded numerous awards and commissions and his works are held in all major public collections in Australia and in many others around the world.
Blakebrough is represented in many galleries in Australia and overseas, including all Australian State Galleries, the National Gallery of Australian and the Royal Palace Collection, Copenhagen, Denmark. He has held dozens of solo exhibitions throughout Australia and is the recipient of numerous awards including a gold medal at the International Exhibition of Ceramic Art, Faenza, Italy, Churchill and Australia Council Fellowships, and many Australian Research Council Grants. In 2008 he was Senior Tasmanian of the Year, and in 2014 was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia in the Queens Birthday honours list.