I am an American ceramic artist shaped by global sites and nuances. Regardless of the location of my home, my environment is always reflected in my work. Largely self-taught, I began my path as an artist nearly two decades ago while living in New York City. There, I sought a creative outlet away from the pressures of my career as an educator in the inner-city public schools. The ceramic work I created in the studio spoke to my existence in an urban world — vases mimicked the skyscrapers that soared above and tiles characterized the streets below.

My latest work, industrial silkscreen prints on clay, reflects the landscape of my new home, Newcastle. It is also inspired by earlier travels. I first started photographing industrial ports while my family and I lived for a year in New Zealand, the Cook Islands, and Australia in 2009. During this time I did not have access to a pottery studio but instead pursued my love of photography. I was intensely intrigued and inspired by the symbols of industry that graced the harbours of our destinations and I took hundreds of photos of cranes, ships, and containers. I then, while living in Raleigh, North Carolina, spent much of my studio time for the next few years reprinting those images onto clay.

In 2014, my husband Kevin was offered a position at the University of Newcastle. We made the decision to return to Australia, this time more permanently. We sold our home and cars — I said good-bye to my kilns and glazes — and loaded our belongings onto a shipping container bound for Sydney. With more than 10 years’ pottery experience in the United States, I was thrilled to be translating my career into a new environment. I now create and sell my work via a shopfront called potteryali, in The Emporium on the Hunter Mall.

The shop has afforded me the time and space to become acclimatised to Newcastle and to create a body of work that reflects and suits this new location of mine. Here, I have come to silkscreen-print the stark and symmetrical lines of coal loaders and silos onto clay in order to record and represent the visual and historical landscape of Newcastle. Other times I press cobblestone textures into clay to evoke the speckled beauty of the beaches. I am forever grateful for this opportunity to expand my perspectives and welcome the next chapter of influences on my work.

 

Articles

Dec
10
  HACKING THE CITY A NEW MODEL FOR URBAN RENEWAL BY GREG LINDSAY December 10, 2015 On a sunny morning in March, Marcus Westbury brandished his iPad as if it were a window into another world. The screen depicted the street we were standing on in downtown Newcastle, Australia,...
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Jun
06

Art in Newcastle

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Art in Newcastle June 2015. Saturday June 6th was a glorious day, a day worthy of getting those walking shoes on and pounding the pavement in search of art. And so I acquiesced. I ventured forth into that warm winter sunshine and perused Newcastle’s abundant art both within...
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Feb
14
Published in: Architects and Artisans February 14, 2011 http://architectsandartisans.com/index.php/2011/02/textured-tiles-that-tell-a-story/   Ali Sobel-Read is a self-taught artist who uses found objects to form lasting impressions in clay. In her travels to Australia, New...
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May
05
Published in: SWEA Bladet (Swedish magazine) May 2010 I imagine that most, if not all, of you who are reading this are experts at navigating and living in a new country and so can relate to our experiences living abroad.  It’s been a fabulous journey and I’m thrilled that I was...
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Jan
29

Kevin och Pottery Ali

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Published in: SWEA Bladet (Swedish Magazine) Jan 29, 2010 Bakom mig i kön till nationaldagens buffébord står ett trevligt amerikanskt par och man är ju nyfiken så jag börjar fundera. Vad har de för anknytning till Sverige? Vi börjar prata och det visar sig att Kevin bott fyra år...
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Jan
21

Passion for pottery pays off

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Passion for pottery pays off: Vases created by North Raleigh potter Ali Sobel-Read are going into a home featured on Sunday’s episode of ABC’s ‘Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.’Jan 21, 2006 Published in: The News and Observer January 2006 Demorris A. Lee,...
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