Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The messy potter!

Well I had a pottery week at last. The wayward burner was fixed so I had no excuse not to finish glazing. I work in this mess - do other potters stumble over glaze containers with pots in varying stages of progress? Midnight, my four-legged companion, usually sits at my feet and often my neighbours two add to the confusion. The dogs all like to pinch the hard local clay and sit eating it then later deposit red telltale mounds on my lawn. I have been threatening to fire these pieces and hand them back to their 'Dad' - they would make a great talkingpoint especially if they were sitting on display somewhere in their house instead of in my backyard.
My poor shed is slowly feeling the effects of the heat and will be replaced soon, bigger and better, with the help of wonderful sons and son-in-law. I have a few months before storms but I am sure once work starts it will be finished in no time.

What a difference having all the burners going - the day went along without a hiccup - the flames worked some magic despite my lack of creativity. The porcelain is always so difficult to photograph to capture its beautiful translucency but these forms with their woven found soft coral handles caught some of the light. I need to head to the paperbarks on the beach and capture them in the incredible sunset light we have lately.

More porcelain - stained with bauxite - almost a cardinal sin to the beautiful Southern Ice body but I had to see what would happen with its incredible translucency and the contrasting bauxite dust rings and I know I will use it again.

There is something quiet and understated in this little bowl made with Weipa clay. I think it will find its way into my cupboard and be used every day. Some bowls seem to sing their own song.
And these two little bowls have snuck into a spot amongst the little gems I reserve for our dipping sauces - you can never have too many or that is my excuse!
And this multiple fired piece stays in the family. No 1 son was horrified it was to be sold especially after withstanding the flames not once, but three times, to achieve its final appearance.

Smoke in the skies are creating the most incredible colours as the sun sets. The light changes each second, catching clouds and tinting them delicately then the blood red colours stretch across the night sky before darkness finally sets in. I never tire of these incredible paintings Nature creates on my doorstep.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Etsy and Me

I have been busy setting up my etsy shop - such a great way to reach out to the world and although separated by distance there is a community both on etsy and the blog who are worth visiting. I have my favourites and marvel at the regularity of some of my fellow bloggers and their work output. I wish I could catch the disease as I have big plans which don't quite come together but I am having lots of little boy and babies' time so there are other compensations. Micheal Kline is a great read with a lively network of potter friends, and his pottery isn't too bad as well!

I thought I should put in today's photos. I mentioned the pandanus nuts in my shop details and here they are nestled in the fronds. The pandanus leaves are dyed and used for making baskets, headbands and armbands. There is a wealth of information in one of my favourite books, 'Thanakupi's Guide to Language & Culture', written by this very special friend and wonderful indigenous potter.
I love this image - imprints of early morning gatherings along the tidal mudflat, the shadows tricking the eye and giving the prints a raised look on the sand. There were two beautiful egrets feeding on the waveline, but the great egret stretching its slender head as it searched for fish caught my eye. I must try and capture his stance with a couple of quick line movements one day.

Now for the kiln - had a mucky firing so refired yesterday so hopefully the results will be an improvement on what confronted me on Saturday. Have to clean one of the burners as my trusty old firing schedule goes by the wayside once I am down to 3 burners. I didn't have too many nice words to say last night waiting for Cone 10 to drop! At least the porcelain pieces came through the first firing so I managed to salvage something after the time spent playing with that flame.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Shino and surprise beach pig

This is my fun glazing - always love seeing the end result of playing with the shino and bauxite. These are just two of my little pieces pre-firing showing the patterning worked with the deliberate movement of hands and layering of shino. The process is slow waiting for the shino to reach the point where the addition of colour can be manipulated, moved, shino reapplied, reworked, fingers outwitting the thick flow. Hopefully there will be a few gems amongst these to make the time spent worthwhile. I like the freedom the shino gives me to capture landscape miniatures of my surroundings. I love that familiarity with the piece and it is always difficult to let them go because of that attachment.

Bauxite pebbles and a well travelled shell caught my eye tonight on the mudflat. Not a perfect specimen but its stained ridges and little barnacles made me look twice.
Now there is probably a black feral pig captured in this picture. He was digging behind the paperbarks and must have seen midnight and I coming down the hill but stayed put. On our return he decided we were too close and run onto the beach and off into the mangroves. Midnight was just as surprised as I was and just watched the antics of this thing before realizing maybe he should have chased it. This is the first time I have seen a feral pig on the beach. There must be something good to eat under the sand behind the trees as he has been digging little craters everywhere. They are so destructive up here and there are thousands roaming the cape. Turtle nests are often targetted adding to the myriad of problems turtles already face in their survival.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

setting sun and mud patterns

Tides are low and the mudflat is made for little feet to explore. To share this experience with one of my favourite little people comes close to pure bliss. Last night he had a sleepover and I don't know who had more fun - think it was me!
I always think there will be nothing really new for me to capture but again my beach surprises with its residents' patternings. Images like this remind me continually just how little I really know about my surroundings, even though they are a part of my daily life, and reaffirm my commitment to the environment's protection. I wish I could transfer all these wonderful etchings to my work with the confidence mother nature uses to wield her pen.

The beautiful photo of my porcelain piece amongst the paperbarks was accepted by AvantCard as a postcard image so there are opportunities to promote artwork and place all over Australia and bring attention to our incredible environment. Being a member of Artworkers keeps me regularly informed on happenings in the 'outside' artworld and this was one I am glad I pursued.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Two new bundles of Joy

Here are the two new little additions to the wonderful world of Nona. Each day is pure pleasure.This is Jackson getting the Nona bumpat - and below is Matthew in these expert hands of mine!
This is so much fun, even beats pushing that clay around but I did start and attack this table full of work. Didn't get too far, was dithering around mixing dried out glazes from months of neglect when family and friends rescued me. Tomorrow I will walk the beach and start early and hopefully my creative brain will kick in and that kiln will fill.
I had this work covered for two months to protect it from the dust which is such a problem in our dry spell so preconceived decorative ideas have long gone - the trusty shino will be thrown about liberally as that always conjures up my connections to place.

I can hear the mine's machinery at work as I write - the land is being changed forever and the future planned expansion is massive. Millions of dollars in earnings and revenue for all, but the scarring is permanent as revegetation can never be the same. The original forest relies on that bauxite layer to exist . This is a slash and burn operation so all is lost to the bulldozer and fire before the machines take their prize. These images affect my work and I try to capture the environment in all its forms, beautiful and scarred -reminders of what remains and what has been lost.