Introducing Ebony Russell, Art Teacher and Festival Director

Internationally renowned ceramicist Ebony Russell is our new Art Teacher in the Primary Years. She is also Festival Director of our forthcoming Fra Angelico Arts and Culture Festival (a twilight event for the whole community taking place late this year).

Ebony teaches art to all our students from Prep to Year 4 and is also a lecturer at Australia’s oldest art school – the National Art School in Darlinghurst – where she specialises in the teaching of ceramics to 3rd year university students. A busy and successful practising artist, Ebony’s art is part of the permanent collection at The Powerhouse and is currently on display at Powerhouse Ultimo. She also has work on display at the Bendigo Regional Art Gallery, the Wollongong Regional Art Gallery and even in Los Angeles where her work can be seen in the Think Pinker exhibition at Gavlak Los Angeles, alongside the work of artists such as Andy Warhol.

As our Primary Years Art Teacher, Ebony thrives in the colour and magic of the Primary Years artroom, Coolibah, telling Veritas Voice that teaching makes her a better artist.

‘Teaching was something I always thought I would do – my mother is a piano teacher and I grew up around seeing teaching as a profession for a woman who wanted to have a family too’, she says.

‘Teaching helps me develop beyond my own set of likes and interests in art. It allows me to extend myself in other mediums: I have to teach many other techniques, processes and styles which actually only helps me become better in the artwork I’m making. Sharing the creative process with other people and being able to problem solve with students extends you across other forms of art making’.

As a young school student herself, the school art room was Ebony’s happy place where her art teachers supported her and reinforced her sense of worth.

Ebony went on to study for a Bachelor of Applied Arts degree followed by a Master’s of Education. As a specialist in ceramics, she is renowned for her unorthodox technique of using royal icing cake decorating tools to make her porcelain sculptures. Despite pushing the boundaries in this way, Ebony is also referencing her matrilineal craft line which has been highly influential and inspirational in her career and personal development.

Ebony’s family emigrated to Australia from Europe in the 1950s and her grandmothers, mother and aunts were primarily homemakers who excelled in crafts such as crochet, sewing and cake decorating. They used these crafts to set up small businesses.

‘I really wanted to extend that into becoming a professional artist and teacher and use a different medium’, Ebony says.

‘It is a point of pride for me to be a female that could contribute through a career in the arts. I was passionate to continue my studies at university while raising a family and model to my young daughters that we can follow our dreams. I always wanted to be a mother, an artist and a teacher. I love being all three.’

As Director of our Fra Angelica Arts and Culture Festival, Ebony aims to create an evening that celebrates and showcases the creative arts across our school in a way that brings our community together. Watch Veritas Voice in the coming months as we bring your further details as the festival program develops.

Outside the classroom and the gallery, Ebony can be found in her studio working on a commission from the Australian Catholic University and entering other work in national and international competitions. She is a busy mother and wife with a dynamic family which includes a husband, two daughters and two cats, and an ongoing home renovation. To cap it all off, Ebony is also the coach of the Under 9s netball team in the Five Dock All Saints club.