Cathy Franzi is a highly regarded ceramic artist who lives and works in Canberra. Through the materiality of ceramics and its possibilities for form, surface imagery and installation, Cathy explores ways to express cultural values attributed to Australian plants. Her work is underpinned by research in the botanical sciences, natural history collections and fieldwork on location. Initially trained in science, her love of the natural world is exemplified by the botanical approach she takes to her work. Making her own tools allows Cathy to apply the techniques of relief print making methods to her ceramic surfaces. Using a textural approach, she makes representative marks by carving through colour on the surface while responding to the form of each wheel thrown vessel.
Cathy graduated with a Bachelor of Science from the University of Sydney in 1985. Her interest in ceramics was formed during her early high school years and was revived after time spent working as a production thrower in a large pottery in New Zealand. In 2010, she completed her Masters of Visual Arts in the Ceramics Workshop at the Australian National University School of Art, then continued her studies there and was awarded a PhD in 2015. Cathy has undertaken several residencies over the years including with the Fremantle Arts Centre in 2018 and the Bundanon Trust in 2016. In 2020, she received a Highly Commended award in the Waterhouse Natural Science Art Prize and in 2021 was the People’s Choice winner for the Klytie Pate Ceramics Award. In 2020, she received funding from artsACT to support new research into printmaking approaches applied to ceramics. Cathy has worked as a teacher and lecturer of ceramics over her career and is the current president of the Australian Ceramics Association. Her work is held in several collections including the Canberra Museum and Gallery, ACT Legislative Assembly, Parliament House Art Collection and Manly Art Gallery & Museum.