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Address:  Shop 7, The Emporium, 185 Hunter St Mall, Newcastle NSW 2300
Hours: Wed 10am – 4pm, Thu & Fri 10am – 5pm, Sat 10am – 3pm
Property Donor: Iris Capital
Launched: 8 August 2014

Ali Sobel-Read
m: 0475 612 436
e: [email protected]

Who are you?
I am Alison Sobel-Read, a ceramicist, a handbuilder, and work with clay slabs. My husband recently accepted a position teaching Law at the University of Newcastle and so less than three months ago, my family and I permanently relocated here from North Carolina in the USA. There, for a decade, I ran and operated my own ceramics business. Now that we are settled, I am excited to get back to my art once again.

What do you do?
My work – consistently geometric and contemporary in nature – spans the spectrum from jewellery to architectural tiles. I use pattern, texture and images to communicate with the viewer and engage in a dialogue.

The next chapter in my screenprint series is entitled Beauty in Industry, for which I will be photographing Newcastle’s port – with a focus on cranes and ships – and printing them onto clay. The ports’ stark lines and geometric symmetry are intricate and stunning, speaking to renewal, possibility and jobs.

What inspired you to get involved in Renew Newcastle?
Living in New York City for a decade gave me an understanding of the importance of urban renewal and I am excited to be a part of Newcastle’s efforts to revitalise its CBD. Additionally, opening a space through Renew Newcastle was also quite timely for me as just one month ago, my inventory arrived from the USA – I was all ready to open up shop!

What are you doing in your new space?
My ceramic work is unique in that I make it completely by hand. I want visitors to The Emporium to see my work in progress so they can better understand my creations, ask questions, and engage with me as I work. I will be making beads, screen-printing and creating wearable art right there in my shop!

Tell us about the space.
The space I now occupy was formerly the cosmetics section in the old David Jones department store. I’m making good use of the counters and display cases that are currently there — they are perfect for housing my jewellery and tiles. On the walls, I’ve hung my larger tiles in several groupings which creates the feel of a mini ceramics gallery. I always enjoy moving things around so keep an eye open for new work!