Friday, October 30, 2009

No work, new slab

I have been very quiet on the blogging front - life's little complexities have meant the clay has had to take a back seat. Still I am finally getting a bigger slab in readiness for a new shed - the latter coming next year when middle son returns from his overseas jaunts. Hopefully cyclones stay away as my poor old shed is just holding together and a big blow might see it sail off across the ocean!

The dogs have loved this dust bowl to play in and are not happy with the meshing restricting access. Monday sees the pour so it will be interesting to keep two dogs from laying their marks across their favourite area.

Next week I will be glazing - famous last words - but I am hopeful I can spend some time throwing some colour around for some patient customers. Family always comes first so I will happily give time up for them, so we shall see what happens - even the clay can't match that passion.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Weipa goes to Sydney

These are some of the pieces which have journeyed to Planet. Hope city life embraces them!

I am so fortunate to have inspiration overload up here and the raw materials on hand to use and make these pieces unique. Southern Ice gives such a beautiful translucency to the forms and works so well with bauxite. I still have to make up my local porcelain using raw kaolin - unfortunately its still slightly tainted with the bauxite but I am sure I will get an unusual workeable body.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Hamada, beach etchings

Beach Etchings - handmade and environmental
"Why not be a potter? Pots can be used, they have a function. Even a bad pot has some use, but a bad painting, there is nothing you can do with it except throw it away"

I think I will put this up in my work area to catch my eye each time I sit and throw that clay around - thanks to Hannah McAndrew for finding this gem from Hamada.

Not much potting happening apart from a workshop with some young students from Western Cape College, but sometimes there are things in life which need our attention - when the claywork begins again it will benefit from this little break.

Saturday, August 15, 2009


This scrappy pile of twigs is home to

these two little doves and mum often comes and sits resting on the platform as well. I love the variety of nests sitting right outside my door in the spindly hibiscuses.
This little honeyeater's creation housed two little ones and
this incredible creation was 5days in the making by two energetic little sunbirds but sadly
nothing more happened but I am sure another couple will come and make repairs and reuse this little house with its well feathered lining.

The fires are burning everywhere outside town and the horizon is heavy with smoke so each night the setting sun is a huge orange red orb painting the skies and ocean with a myriad of colours. No wonder I am inspired to capture just some of this incredible palette on my clay if this is what I see in just a few days!
I love being home but Sydney and the workshop at the National Art School with Takeshi Yasuda was a wonderful experience. Galleries were featuring ceramics and more ceramics and I managed to see a few, only wished I had time to see more.
Our photo-shoot and the pots featured as well!!!
The local potters then had to sit through a demo - did have to read my notes as two weeks and the brain had already forgotten bits but a pot emerged (5 o'clock I kept hearing!) and I breathed a sigh of relief - even had to cut it down to fit in the kiln but it will be fired and raffled for the club at the year's end exhibition.
"How we sell our pots" - the requested article for The journal of Australian Ceramics - 6 hours later sitting at the local shopping centre - still managing to smile- only because pots sold - I need gas! - and this wasn't too much to pack up! I always baulk at going down but usually have the orchid seller sitting across the way - his orchids always attract plenty of buyers so they have to walk past and have a conversation. I kept thinking about this coming article and smiling at what my piece could contain - this was the Saturday of the 'Bullride', tourists off buses were rushing to use the toilets, "I've come from the Tip, would love to buy some but still have more rough roads to travel over", locals shopping, kids touching and mums chastising, 10 am bottle shop opening across the way, "I'm going to Timor but can only carry 10kg but I will take 2 cups, jug, microwave vegetable cooker", lots of waves, chats and "I'll look after things if you want something from the bakery", then grandson coming to help. It was a good day.......

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The southerners and pots

The southern cold drove the family north to enjoy our Winter - cold wet weather and sick kids don't lead to an enjoyable time. The little ones are playing with hoses instead of sitting in front of a fire so it's been a fun time for Nona!

I quickly did another load before they came - a mix of shino pieces, cups and beakers - the latter a favourite for cool drinks in our hot climate. Its Winter and we are still getting 30 degree + (90F) days so pottery is a must for keeping your beverages cool! Went on a bit of a jug making spree as there have been requests for beer jugs from a couple of the local home brewers - trouble with my jug making it moves from large to very small and its the smaller versions which take over and press my creative button - and they don't require handles - all the better when things are drying before my eyes.
This beaker is in the local porcelain body I have aging - couldn't resist taking some out and trying to get it working - still finding it stiff and not as plastic as I was hoping but hopefully that bacteria will work its magic and give me the body I want.

I am off to brave the Sydney cold next week and enjoy the workshop with Takeshi Yasuda. I should come home stimulated by my exposure to the galleries etc down there but I know the cold won't be pleasureable as I am totally shorts and t-shirt and barefoot!!!
I have been enjoying the discussions on the australian ceramics thread - for someone like me who sits a long long way from city centres its great to hear the many views bandied back and forth. I must admit I am drawn to those who are comfortable working away quietly in the shadows but staying true to their love - I am a little lost amongst the Art crowd - give me my beach any day! The cyber world is great for someone like me to touch base with the ceramic world but it does sometimes eat into time and takes away from actually working the clay.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Grass Basket and Home

This is one of the most incredible videos and well worth watching. I hope schools make this a must see. I feel rather small and insignificant by comparison but realize I am part of a monumental destructive force waging war on this wonderful planet we call 'HOME'.
I had the opportunity to learn some grass weaving, making a Mindi. Mindi (message vessel) functioned as a vessel for transporting message sticks, their typical size being the result of this function. My Mindi took on an abstract form and seemed to take me on its own journey recreating what I felt was a female form acknowledging the gathering of women learning this wonderful art. Ninney and Emily Murray from the Jumbun Community patiently guided us through the process, Ninney urging me to keep going until the end. I am so glad she did as I feel it spoke volumes. 7 hours with a break for lunch and it sat completed and one tired but extremely happy basket weaver wove 'HOME'. Thankyou, Thankyou Ninney and Emily.
Ninney was part of the Artisan 2008 exhibition 'Jettison Wove' which is touring remote communities and Weipa has the privelege of viewing the works.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Shino and some green cups!

Shino dominated the kiln load this time. Finally fired some of the big pots sitting around taking up much needed space in my limited work area. Just thought the green cups would add a complete contrast to the earthy bauxite, shino ware. Think my heart was in the glazing but it was with mixed feelings as another son flew the coop - he will be missed but is probably glad he doesn't have mum asking him to do those fix-it jobs.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

National Portrait Gallery

Dr John Yu by the wonderful Ah Xian. The featured portrait story is worth checking on the National Portrait Gallery site - Dr John Yu.
I just loved the gentleness in Dr John Yu's voice and feel the mood has been captured in this beautiful ceramic portrait.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

There was a Crowe-ing and a Russell in the bushes on the banks of the Wenlock River

Russell Crowe was on the David Letterman show calling for protection of Steve Irwin's Wildlife Reserve on the Wenlock River. This river has the biggest fish diversity of any river in Australia and as such is a pristine environment in its entirety which needs protection from mining. Bauxite mining means the removal of all vegetation, along with associated fauna followed by the bauxite layer scooped up and forever removed, thus dictating the death of the forest which depended on this layer. Sadly for the areas under the mining process up here there have been no indepth studies on the fauna so we are still not aware of the losses already suffered and the pending future losses in areas earmarked for the mining process. We need more high profile voices like Crowe's to make a stand for the preservation of some wilderness areas which will be forever lost if we don't speak out.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Camera and pots!!!

My photography is always a struggle - especially with the reflective light bouncing off the shino and my wonderful blue black 'Milky Way' series but now the camera has failed me. Remoteness makes these things all that more difficult as the nearest 'hospital' is in Sydney so I will be walking my beach without this constant companion.
Porcelain 'Milky Way' dillyThe images never do this wonderful glaze combination justice - there is so much refracted light it hinders the contrast especially on the porcelain body. Sunlight works magic and I so wish I had the equipment to capture these works properly.

The little shino basket, glaze rolling back off the underlying bauxite over a local clay mix.
Shino, bauxite and a 2 glaze green always works to capture the local monsoon colours.
Beakers - these found some good homes - shell marks highlighted with the bauxite and multiple glazes over a local clay mix create interesting responses.
Local clay filled with its abundance of iron works so well with two little soy pourers.
Southern Ice Porcelain, beautiful and impurity free, and I go and add something like bauxite to change that crisp whiteness but it works so well, the transluscency accenturating the bauxite markings. When the camera returns the dilly forms will find their way to the paperbarks just on sunset - 'dilly inspired porcelain basket with its found woven soft coral handle sits quietly amidst its fragile surroundings, reflecting on the past indigenous women who gathered along this pristine shore for thousands of years leaving only their footprints - if only we could do the same.'
My AvantCard postcard - "CallingAllArtists.pdf"