Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Rain Again!

We have had unseasonal rain - at least everything is looking brighter as things dry so fast here once the 'real' wet passes. The flat to Rocky Point Beach is now looking brown and listless but the shower yesterday will bring some fresh shoots - unfortunately they probably won't survive long.

My Friend and inspiration Thanakupi has just returned from a quick trip to Canberra for the Reconciliation Celebration - her yams are now huge bronzes taking pride of place in our Capital. Here she is working at her table transforming the clay into her stories, both top and bottom receiving equal attention to detail. I love hearing the legends and her songs - another world has opened through her eyes.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

The art of keeping busy

Just read an interesting article in Review in Weekend Australian. I think why it hits home is that I can identify with it so readily on a personal front familywise. Andrew Lindsay said "many people just don't understand that, yes, music and performing and painting and writing fiction are all real jobs, what one does for a living." "All the artists I know are keeping very busy indeed, even though their works are sometimes hard to quantify, and thus are just not included in the gross domestic product."
There seems to be this peception that artists, just because they are doing something they love actually don't work, where in fact most of us work very hard and long hours without receiving the secure pay cheque at the end. We rely solely on others to appreciate our work and then purchase it, mostly at a cost far below its expense in time. Yes we all love what we do and thus spend long hours 'working'.

Now here comes more of Nicholas for the Southerners!
This was a wet day organized at Napranum. There were so many small children and not a tear in sight - everyone was having so much fun getting wet and mushy.
This time of year the Cooktown orchids are out at Pennefather Beach. These are some in my yard - no comparison to the beach though - its just thousands of orchids along the kilometers of foreshore. A stunning sight.

This is one of our resident rainforest frogs. He lives in one of my pottery totem poles.

Nicholas just loves prunes - all nice and sticky on his face and in his curls!Forever the Ham. I can remember Nicholas's uncle just loving things on his head. I think he is loving his new house soooo much, as well as mum and dad.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Nicholas and his big 1ST BIRTHDAY

Well this will be a pottery free post. Something more important happened in our lives. Ours favourite little man turned one and did he have fun!
I think the adults spent more time laughing and trying to capture untold images and video clips of this big event. These great photos come from Auntie Tan Tan Tan - Nona's are yet to hit the site but these are too good not to show. This is for my Auntie Maleta and family and my Biz Nona and Papa.

How I love my balloons! Nicholas uses his thumb and first finger with such dexterity - everything is touched this way and he even eats very delicately with both hands using these favourite fingers.

The absolute concentration on this burning thing. Mummy tried to show him how to blow it out but he was mesmerized with the flame - but not the cake - now that little video clip will come on another post when I get it downloaded. Its such a funny sight - he just loved the cake - just had to use both hands to get as much as he could.

Yes Daddy is always up for some fun - froggie is from Auntie Aleta and Uncle Troy.

Isnt this the most adorable little boy - and those curls!

Auntie Aleta playing and singing clapping hands and feet.
We had a great birthday!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Beach changes

I love the everchanging landscape of 'my beach' - well its Rocky Point Beach but as I walk it continually I feel as if I have a bit of ownership. It provides me with so much inspiration and the changes I have witnessed each year prompt memories of the environmental phases but there are always surprises. Take this little insignificant insect feeding on these 'End of the Wet' grass flowers. I always notice their appearance in the house but never realized they fed on these plants until I took this photo on the beach flat. Now I know why so many appear as they have this huge feast awaiting. These grasses don't last that long either so no wonder they descend in such large numbers. The flat is carpeted with a variety of little delicate plants and I am sure if I investigated further there would be insects to match each variety.
This appears just sandy soil but with the wash from the layers above during the wet it is probably very fertile and with each plant variety succumbing to the approaching dry further nutrient is added to the sand.

The dreaded speargrass - the bane of every motorbike rider - how do I know this - well Jeffery loves bike riding and actually worked for two years guiding bike tours to the tip and speargrass was a defiant enemy - latching onto all things. I still find a beauty in their configuration and standing tall like this they rise above the smaller flowers - they are so laden at the end of the wet and then flop over with the 'knock-em-down rains'. It is fascinating to watch the seed when wet as it straightens out and moves - no wonder they have such a success rate in reproduction.

Then you find these little gems below the grasses - their vividness such a contrast.

This little flower cluster is only an inch across with the most delicate individual flowers. They are prolific at the beginning of the dry but end up in little lone plants dotted along the flat until the plant succumbs to the dry season or foreshore fires. It is also supposed to be good for stomach ailments. A little bunch of all these plants sat on my windowledge for 2 weeks before they finally withered. Who needs a florist? And as for these beautiful flowers. The vine is hardy - also medicinal - and covered in these vibrant flowers. All these treasures grow within a 20 metre strip. These tend to be closer to the foreshore. Later in the dry the Timity vine grows with its little edible balls.

I couldn't resist this monster on the beach - it really had me looking as I walked along - yes we do have crocodiles so from a distance my eyes were trying to make sense of the form. (Is this a pot in the making?) Of course Midnight wasn't the least perturbed and christened the beast - as he does any little outcrop. Many dogs also walk this beach so its quite a trip for the doggie crew as they all must leave their mark for friends to acknowledge!

I love the tidal wash - I did wait several minutes snapping as each wave came to shore - but the little seedling trying to attach itself seems to epitomise the daily struggle on the foreshore.
And this is the reward - standing tall and proud. Unfortunately we have vehicles using this little beach and they do untold damage. No matter how many notices go up they are continually
ignored so this little defiant plants stands no chance against a tyre.

Here's the fisherman - he doesn't seem to catch many fish but he does have a lot of fun trying. Usually the jabirus walk here on their stately legs - its very shallow and teeming with life so a variety of birds feed especially in the mornings. Evenings are quieter times - best time for the fishing dog creating his own water patterns.
Now I couldn't resist showing this side of this talented beast! He loves to drive - especially with Jeffery. Now Jeffery has two cars - one very upmarket with plush seats and this, his bike carrying ute but Midnight is equally at home in either car - talk about adaptable.

I love this photo - I was almost ready to run home - and along came this happy family framed with a backdrop to die for. I love being this close to the ocean - I can be cooking tea and look out and see the sky changing colour so I head out the back gate and run past two houses down the hill and past the flat onto the beach. I never tire of the sun setting - the colours are always amazing. Living on the west coast we have the most incredible sunsets.

Nicholas having a bath in the laundry sink - he loves it and so does Nona. As for the frog - he wasn't quite sure - he wanted to touch it but that look says it all. This little rainforest frog didn't quite know what to make of all the attention.

Oh my ankle - this is for the family - its a lot better but its my potting foot so I have to get it working. At least today it feels a bit more normal and after some physio I have got a bit more movement. Can't believe I can do so much with one step. I wasn't running either!!!

I really have had two weeks of enforced rest so it has to stop! Have lots to do in the clay department.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

did I need a Rest....

Well after a good couple of weeks of pottery and the Club Exhibition I go off and roll my ankle stepping down one step - tried to walk then hobbled and finally lay down on the cement! I must have looked a treat as a couple of people apparently walked into the building - must have thought I was inebriated and sleeping! So I have had to keep my leg up and take it easy - that's not so simple and I have read all the weeklies - oh how exciting they are. Thank goodness Aleta had been given some for work - I wouldn't spend money on them but they have provided some distractions for me.

Couldn't resist putting Nicholas on here in his cranky pants nappy - he's usually in his huggies so Nona (me) had great fun putting him in a proper nappy! He is one this week and trying to step out so won't be long before he is walking properly and the words are starting to come out. Each day he seems to do something else and he is always laughing and has us in stitches too. How I love this little bundle.

Here he is with Dad - big grin always.

Now for the pottery - had some great pieces come out - still love the shino and the miniature landscapes it forms on my pots. I know the big handbuilt pieces dominate but there is something to be said about a small teacup in one's hand - the senses stirred with a small delicate piece are hard to beat. There is such beauty in the little areas of shino, oxide, glaze and bauxite.
I will never tire of the shino and bauxite combination. Have been itching to get out there and I can't do anything, even handbuilding comfortably. Thought I could at least get something going but the aching foot says no!

This little teacup is a gem. I did try and abstract a birdlike form with glaze and oxide and although it didn't show clearly it still is a painterly piece wth some beautiful colours formed with the shino movement.

Matt black and shino - always stunning on a large or small piece. The bauxite pieces in the shino colour the trail and the crawling forms its own landscape. The local clay gives extra dimension to the glazes and feel of this small piece. I had to make it my own! I can hear Bruce sighing again - more pottery...

I have never been a lover of the browns but there is just something about this set which attracts me - I think the cobalt spots are such a contrast - I try to add these to the glaze when it is still moving so they pool, just as the tide pools on the mudflats as it recedes. The local clay has small impurities in it and these leave telltale marks in the pieces. I always try to use a favourite shell
from the beach to alter and mark my pieces - even if the user doesn't realize I know and that is what's important. I have left my own little environmental mark!

Another little handheld bowl - it just begs for closer inspection and being small this is so much easier. I have added kaolin so it sits like oyster coated rocks in my landscape and the shino washes around like the incoming tide. These are such fun to glaze and I reapply the shino and add extra glazes and oxides while the shino is still wet and thick. My hands do most of the work and little drops fall to fill spots with pools of colour. It takes ages but its so worth the end product.

Here are the tall pots with my mess all round! - so good to handbuild every now and again. My doodling at the pottery shop on a Thursday night paid off with the green pair. I love the glazes over the bauxite and the trailing glaze on top. They seem such a regal pair and at the moment like all of the pieces here, I can't part with them yet! The matt black trio with their shino splashes worked well. I want to do more of the coil combination - the Lost Cities in the Northern Territory provided inspiration and also the little mudmounds on the beach are coiled up the same way. This was what I was hoping to get out and do this week as well as my teapots for the Sydney Teapot Show but I will just have to be patient. I have a firing to do for Thanakupi as well but she has another couple of weeks before she needs her pots. We both always work so much better when we keep each other going.
Perhaps I should be doodling...... Did I need this rest.....