William Ricketts

William Ricketts

William Ricketts (1898–1993) was an Australian potter and sculptor of the arts and crafts movement.

Born in Richmond, Victoria in 1898, William settled permanently in Mount Dandenong, Victoria in 1934. Although not trained as a potter and never technically superior (his works large and small frequently exhibit cracking) the power of his vision of a modern Australia which embraces the Aboriginal spirituality and respect for the natural world has assured his place in the public favour. His major works include the "Dromana" in the Seawinds Garden, Arthurs Seat, Victoria, and "Gun Brute", William Ricketts Sanctuary, Mt Dandenong, Victoria. Many smaller works are in the collection of the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney. Photographic records of his sculptures, particularly those from the sancutaries of Pitchi Ritchi and Mt. Dandenong which have been vandalised, are held in the archives of Australia's libraries. William, never rich, supported himself through commissioned sales of his art and made pieces as gifts. These signed original small pieces are increasingly sought after for private collections.

From 1949–1960 he made frequent trips into Central Australia to live with Pitjantjatjara and Arrernte Aboriginal people whose traditions and culture inspired his sculpture. He was not an Aboriginal by blood but considered himself adopted by Pitjantjatjara nation.He left behind many of his central Australian works at Pitchi Ritchi near Alice Springs - a bird sanctuary run by his friend Leo Corbet - as he considered the lansdscape integral to these sculptures.

From 1912 to 1920 William developed skills in playing violin, crafting jewelry and clay modelling.In 1934 he started his major artistic work - creating the sculpture park now named William Ricketts Sanctuary. He worked on this project until his death in 1993. In 1970 he went to India. He spent two years there, mostly at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram spiritual center in Pondicherry, developing spiritual empathy with Indian people and knowledge of their philosophy.

William Ricketts Sanctuary

The main work of William Ricketts is the sculpture park that he named Potter's sanctuary, but is now known as William Ricketts Sanctuary. He worked for more than fifty years on the transformation of a natural old-growth eucalyptus forest into aunique place of spiritual renewal and quietreflection. The sanctuary reflects a spirit of placeexpressed through one man’s dream. Deeplyfelt connections to the earthly mother and thespirit of the land are explored in 92 ceramicsculptures of people and animals which mergewith the natural surroundings: a wise elder isas one with an ancient tree, his beard flowinginto its trunk and roots; young children playwith native animals among ferns and flowingwater; and the human and natural spiritbecome one.

In the 1960s the Victorian Government bought this place from William Ricketts and made it a public park. William Ricketts still lived in this place until his death in 1993.

ources

* [http://member.melbpc.org.au/~grjallen/ricketts/rick4b.htm Ricketts' writings]
* [http://www.parkweb.vic.gov.au/resources/04_0217.pdf Brochure of Park Victoria]
* [http://www.parkweb.vic.gov.au/resources/05_0486.pdf Another brochure]
* [http://member.melbpc.org.au/~grjallen/ricketts/rick2b.htm Text about his philosophy]
* [http://answers.google.com/answers/threadview?id=510937 About his sculptures at Pitchi Ritchi]


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