Friday, August 31, 2007

Spring in Weipa?

Well Winter has gone and now its supposed to be Spring??? Weipa really heads straight into Summer but the wild almonds actually felt Winter and their leaves changed to Autumn colours dropping to the ground. Its too hot to walk the beach in the midday hours now so morning and afternoons see lots of dogs and their mates walking the beach. A resident croc has moved in and he often pops up to say hello.

Fires are always a sign that the cooler weather has gone and we have had some unseasonal rain last month - seems a lot of the state had unseasonal rain - so grasses grew that extra little bit and now fires are taking hold. This one was over towards Andoom and with the heavy cloud as backdrop and the dying sun peaking through made for a pretty impressive view.

I couldn't resist this little bit of seaweed weaving - strange how work mimics nature. I love the grass woven baskets and have been throwing some porcelain forms with minimal weave marks. I want woven handles with the found soft coral I incessantly pick up while walking so this little image really struck a chord. I would have missed it had I not been down trying to capture the waves rolling around the oyster covered rocks. There is something special getting close up views of the shoreline and this proves it.

I have been rearranging my files and came across this old scanned image of my mum and I in Babinda with Cassie, our pet cassawary. He loved the big skirts worn at the time as he used to nuzzle mum so anyone visiting was greeted with this determined bird wanting to get under their skirts. Needless to say it had mum's friends yelling from the gate. Dad came home with Cassie one night - a little chick Dad caught after the parent was hit by a car- and Cassie grew and grew - he could swallow whole apples in the end and we were sent up to the Azanarri's shop to buy speckled fruit for his food. In those days speckled fruit was cheap, sometimes given away! Cassie's colours were impressive, his neck irradescent greens, purples and blue, and equally impressive were his feet. He never seemed a threat but didn't much like our dog Whiskey and always attempted to stomp him if he came near. Our chooks accepted him as a strange bigger cousin but in the end he was too big to keep so went off to Hartley's Zoo in Cairns. Apparently he lived a long life in complete comfort and I am sure had lots of attentive tourists. These wonderful birds are endangered and often fall victim to cars as they cross the roads. Habitat is dwindling so how special to think I actually watched Cassie mature in my own backyard. Thanks Dad. xxx

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Why I love my Beach

This was the start to my day - call from Jeffery via Bruce - one finishing night shift and one starting the day run - they noticed the red patches heralding a great sunrise so Midnight and I off to the beach to catch the colours dancing on the water and cloudy skies - absolutely incredible. This photo was just after the best colour display as I was trying to make Rocky Point to catch it across the Mission River towards the bridge.

These little gems are tide creations - what the eye can see when it stoops down to Nicholas's level - a new world opens up with nature's works of art.
We are luckier than most - we have plenty of water up here so lawns remain green during our prolonged dry spell - sprinklers leaving behind creative droplets on the leaves continually dropping with the winds and drier weather.
This was Sunset last night, the colours changing as the sun sinks below the waterline, catching the clouds in the sky.
Do I get sick of sunsets - never when in the space of two nights you can catch glimpses of these incredible colours across the sky.
Now for the pottery - I have sent a few of the pieces off to the gallery. This is all new for me as my work usually stays in Weipa as I have not taken the next step. I have always wanted my work to be seen outside its place, to give others a glimpse into my incredible inspirational environment, to touch and sense the attachment my fingers transfer to the clay.

This tall bottle form started out as a combination piece but of course as any potter knows the clay takes us on a journey, it and our subconscious proving a force to be reckoned with. As usual the Shino is still such a wonderful experimental part of my decorative technique and the constant, bauxite, conjures up the most incredible pools across the piece.
Shino again moving across a simple bowl form, intermingling with the base glaze and bauxite adding its textural mark.

I love teapots. I am a coffee drinker really, always need my two cups, my heartstarters to begin my day, but I do love the odd cup of earl grey - but its always the teabag and not the teapot which delivers my tea! I do own a teapot but its only used on odd occasions. I have made a lot of teapots over the past couple of years and they sit on shelves in many places. My friend in India is threatening to take her favourite from Brisbane back over to enjoy her tea so I know they are well used and loved in a lot of households. Tea conjures up shared memories so the pleasure in the throwing proces containing local clay then adding kaolin, bauxite and shino brings immeasurable satisfaction. My place and I are always a part of the occasion of sharing tea!

The Sydney Teapot Show - they say its full of quirky little numbers honouring the ritual of tea, little pieces representing the likes of "Tea with shakespeare", "Tea with the Zeitgeist" (yes I did go and look it up as they said!!!), "Teabags" and "I never take any notice of those arty-farty Clayworkers suggestions" - which is the category my little number went under. But in a way I went my own arty-farty way didn't I. Now these teapots don't have to be functional to be part of the show but I can't make a teapot without all the working bits even when its not really a functioning teapot. One year I will take a trip to Sydney and visit this show. It seems to have great coverage so there are many out there who love the teapot like I do. These are a couple of teapots made recently still awaiting good homes, and they are functional.

I love our clear night skies, brilliant lights in the Milky Way without any light pollution. It just begged an interpretation in my work so a series has evolved, like the Milky Way the possibilities seem endless. These are just a few of the pieces evolving - another journey.

More Shino crawling and layering across heavy throwing marks, highlighted with shell scratchings. Favourite shells picked up on Rocky Point. Shell varieties are limited, unlike Mapoon where shells are found in the thousands built up in rills, carefully collected and graded by Zoe and Mable into the most wonderful necklaces. An art of incredible patience, time consuming to the maximum. I feel in using the shell as a decorative tool I am honouring this wonderful delicate artform. They inspire me with their work and I will soon be wearing one of their beautiful pieces - wait for the photo! There is an article in 'Capeyorker' magazine with Zoe collecting her shells (www.capeyorker.com).
This tall form is now making its way to the Cudgegong Gallery - along with some other work - hopefully it will survive the journey by parcel post. Isolation makes for an interesting parcel service - barge to Karumba then onto transport overland to Townsville up to Cairns and then its distributed from there, all in all about 2 weeks to reach its destination. The barge is often late and in bad weather it sometimes doesn't come at all. This combination of services also provide our food - interesting when cyclone season is about. Woolies can run out of milk and vegies as we all head down to stock up when we think the RainGod is afoot. Still it makes for an interesting life and I wouldn't have it any other way.
These two interesting pieces have gone to good homes. I hated letting them go but my house does have a bit of pottery about - Bruce is always offering to give it away - but I know he secretly likes having it around. I really loved this piece - my 'Ocean Drop' and kept it at home for more than a week. It was so representative of the beach with its contrasting bauxite washes and the foaming tide rushing in over the mudflats. My boys would be shaking their heads - they know I hang onto things - too sentimental - that's why I still have all their school books and the other doodlings - crazy mum - but as for that daughter of mine - she will take it all - she is just like me - but how I love this family of mine.