‘Knowledge is just a rumour until it lives in the muscle.’ This is what Romy Northover, of No. does. She translates her passionate intellect and particular brand of emotional intelligence into ceramics and jewellery – a true transfer of mind to matter. It’s a visceral craft, physical and gritty, with visible texture, sometimes even the echo of a handprint, left behind in each unique piece.
Ceramics is something that transcends borders: between nations, centuries and cultural practices, and is as significant in the art world today as it was an everyday necessity of ancient cultures. How perfect it is, then, that Romy seeks and finds inspiration from her international familial split (her family living in Europe while she and her husband hail from NYC), and a rich array of references and stories. Her ‘ancient future’ style is evidence of this: earthy and humble pieces refined by a deep consideration of the dialogue she exists within.
The first time I encountered her work in the flesh was at Sydney’s China Heights Gallery at her exhibition, ‘Continental’, curated by fellow creative, Kara Town. The entire show was an example of how the ancient art of ceramics can permeate the contemporary sphere with such elegance and intrigue.
It is safe to say that Romy is someone who is informed. She has studied art her entire life, believing it to be in the eye of the beholder, changing as we do. Perhaps this is why she works predominantly in clay – ceramics are a way for her to make permanent her dreams and thoughts and impressive list of references she calls upon when she creates. And Romy is a creator. She adds to culture from nature’s basic resources, and has an inherent talent for imbuing each piece with knowledge and emotional energy. It makes sense, then, that she lists her own body and intuition as her constant inspiration – her body is her tool and the earth is her material. The rest is just a rumour.