When Old Meets New



Pottery is one of the oldest inventions in history, a skill utilised by the Ancient Greeks, the Egyptians and in the Japanese Jōmon period. In awe of pottery predecessors, South Australian ceramic artist Holly Phillipson champions the ancient techniques of the craft when creating her award-winning contemporary designs.

TAFE SA graduate and South Australian ceramic artist Holly Phillipson.

“The whole [pottery] process is fascinating to me,” Holly says. “There are so many skills involved at different stages.”

The artist says she hadn’t thought about a career in ceramics until she discovered the JamFactory Associate Program. Holly had been completing a short wheel-throwing course at TAFE SA when she met some glass artists employed as associates. Meeting them encouraged her to enrol in a Bachelor of Creative Arts (Visual Arts) – delivered concurrently by TAFE SA and Flinders University – with the hope of landing a coveted JamFactory associate position.

“I could see a clear pathway for myself as a ceramicist,” says Holly, and in 2018 she began the three-year undergraduate course at Adelaide College of the Arts. She says her biggest takeaway was the in-depth education she received.

“It’s so rewarding to create forms you envision and fire them into permanent, durable objects,” she says. Here, the degree touched on all aspects of ceramics, from mixing glazes to firing kilns and how to manage a studio. But being a part of a vibrant community of creatives, learning from industry lecturers every day, is what set the degree apart for the ceramicist.

“I felt so supported and had a profound sense of belonging.” Her thorough education led Holly to landing a place in the JamFactory’s Associate Program – her dream role. She has since been accepted into the Helpmann Academy Elevate Mentorship program, where she’ll work under her ‘ceramic heroes’ Kirsten Coelho and Peter Andersson.

“They’ll help develop an exciting new body of work and some new glazes,” she says.

In appreciation of the historical significance of pottery, Holly points to the ancient forms in her contemporary ceramic designs. She references timeless pieces from all over the globe in her range of wheel-thrown tableware. Her recent collection, Peplum (2022), featured wheel-thrown platters, bowls and candelabras, all with the signature frilly design.

Dipped in a white satin glaze, the pottery range was partially inspired by doughnut-like Russian Skopin ceramics.

“It’s fun to challenge myself to create similar forms, but with my contemporary style,” she says.


A dual award degree delivered by TAFE SA and Flinders University, the Bachelor of Creative Arts [Visual Arts] delivers a comprehensive grounding in the practical and theoretical aspects of contemporary visual arts studio practice. You will be required to undertake the TAFE SA Diploma and Advanced Diploma of Visual Arts [CUA51120, CUA60720] concurrently with the Bachelor of Creative Arts [Visual Arts].

Duration: Three years full-time or part-time equivalent

Delivery: Adelaide College of the Arts

Course Admission Requirements:

• Any Certificate III or higher

• Satisfactory achievement in the Special Tertiary Admissions Test (STAT)

• Successful completion of SACE (year 12) results (or equivalent) achieving an ATAR of 60 or above


Ideal for beginners, this course teaches the fundamental skills of wheel-throwing. Various dates, starting in May 2023.

Delivery: Adelaide College of the Arts

Visit tafesa.edu.au/visualarts to learn more.