Frances says she was always drawing and sculpting as a child. In the 1970’s, she was academically trained in graphic design at Sydney College of the Arts and after graduating, began work as a graphic designer in television.
Frances became head of design for Channel 7 in Sydney before travelling to London and working in various galleries and design practices.
Returning to Australia in the 1980’s, worked at Channel 9 as a senior air-brush artist and then for the ABC in Sydney, before leaving and heading the design department at a major independent TV studio, transitioning to digital design and animation.
Since then Frances has worked as a designer in book publishing, formed her own design studio and multimedia company and developed a commercial newspaper publication in both print and web.
Throughout, Fran Smith worked in clay, gaining competence in both throwing and glazing, working at night and weekends mostly, but for several happy years, as a full-time production potter.
Compared to most of the artistic mediums she has used, clay is the most challenging – but it is also the most rewarding.
From a plastic, almost trivial raw material, it is transformed over a series of stages into a highly decorative, functional and long-term expression of creative intent.
Frances says her fascination is with simple, elegant functional ware in porcelain; sometimes as surface for intricate illustration; and sometimes as a form that uses glaze simply as a means to highlight the underlying beauty of the piece itself, without further artistic overloading.