Saturday, April 20, 2013

Pots, my trusty mate, the dog & my inspirational beach

Big week bisque/glaze and I feel like a potter again.   The kiln worked well but climbed a little too high in the soak so where there should have been some light there was a darker outcome.    The next day with another look I wasn't as critical but I will be a bit more diligent next time.  I have been throwing slabs on the floor adding Weipa Kaolin and bauxite to texture the clay.  I even brought home a little of the beach kaolin you can see in the photo to crush and add.   I must use it as a glaze.  I am drawn to Stefan Schwarz and his constant use and tests with his local raw materials.  Beautiful glazes.  There is so much I want to do with what is around me here and now I have no excuses as time is my own.  The beach I walk is full of so much I could use.  Every year after the fires go through I promise myself I will go down and bring back ash from the grasses and trees that fall but still have not done it.  Now its green and the rain has washed all the ash away so I wait again for the dry and its predictable fires and this year I will head down bucket in hand and fill it!   I am slowly getting the feel for clay again, its been a long time since I have been able to completely focus on that wonderful muddy medium.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Sawdust & Dirt: In Praise of Liking Mistakes - what a great clip

Take a walk to Michael Kline's blog and enjoy this great video.

Sawdust & Dirt: In Praise of Liking Mistakes: Chris Staley and Cody Goddard have made some incredibly compelling videos.  This is one of my favorites. Thanks to Laura and   Lori for po...

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Best feet forward and a coconut

Its been such a long time since I walked the beach with my 4 legged mate in tow.   He has watched eagerly this last week willing me to grab the camera, his cue to race to the gate and walk his favourite place.

This week is a new beginning and yes my terrible feet are decorated with bright blue nail polish - the preferred colour of little feet - he will think they are great, I know.   The coconut, well I happen to love coconut and of course it is the new health 'discovery', and this tree on the beach is the sweetest coconut in town, and I do know where the best coconuts are.  Making coconut milk has been a weekly past-time for me for nigh on a year now and has been consumed by human, dog and chooks and there have been obvious benefits for all of us.

The beach is so inviting and the heavy dark colours of the impending storm only heighten my senses and I have forgotten how much I have missed walking my favourite stretch of sand.   It has suffered from the rough seas and looks a little less vegetated but still so beautiful and the play of light soothes the mind.
Sandworm carcasses intermingled with mangrove seeds line the beach at the highest point of the rough tides from Oswald - thousands of empty tubes and my mind takes me to glazing and the effects they may create.  The beach always prompts thoughts of clay so I know I won't be too far away from sitting at my wheel again.

It has been such a long time since I did clay seriously and this was a blog about my dance with clay.  Life can twist and turn, both good and bad and that has happened in the last few years.   I have had much joy in my life but there has been sadness in the family and there will be heavy hearts forever and I now think before I complain about mundane things.  

I am looking forward to sitting with dog and chooks as my companions, feeling the rhythm of the wheel and the gentle movement of the clay under my hands.  This is a strange new experience - this life alone and I wonder how my creative juices respond.   For 61 years I have been someone's child, sister, wife, mother, wife again, mother, nona - I am still all these things except someone's wife but for the first time I am living alone with all the time now to return to that creative passion of moving the clay.   It is an exciting prospect.  Hopefully then this blog will be my new clay journey but first the house needs some minor adjustments!

As for the coconut tree, here it is with a damaged bush almond on the right and the remnants of its mate entangled around the base of the coconut.    Palm cockatoos love the bush almonds but many trees have fallen to the ocean's wrath but there are still enough to entice the rare and endangered birds to feed.

Sunset today
Sunrise Valentine's Day

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Winds are still howling!

One casualty in the back garden but it couldn't have picked a better spot to fall. If this wind and rain stops tomorrow maybe the axe will be swinging and I can put it back in its place.     Wind gusts have been relentless and the combination of that and the ocean's roar has been deafening at times.   Oswald lost strength according to the weatherman but conditions have not changed all day so it seems we are to be serenaded again tonight with the wind and rain.

Copper glazes.   I am a lover of small pots making and falling in love with them continually so my cupboards house too many for any one person to use but I find it difficult to part with them - that's the hoarder in me.   These little gems are not mine but they have lived with me for over 50 years.   My Dad loved mining history so as children my brother and I spent many holidays seeking out old mining areas and some new ones as well.   These were testing crucibles made at the Battersea Works in England and used at the Chillagoe Copper Mine.   In the late 1950's the old mine site was completely abandoned and held little interest to visitors.   The main attraction was a tour of the limestone caves by torchlight.  These caves are still an attraction and the area is also renowned for its beautiful marble.

As a child scratching around the lab area was such fun where these little gems lay in their hundreds.   Taller beaker style ones were there as well with incredible colour variations.   A cardboard box soon overflowed and found its way into the trusty FJ Holden along with the camping gear.   Dad, too was the hoarding type but his bits and pieces collected in his lifetime provide the family with many cherished memories of an interesting life  -  maybe my love of little pots began here.......

Monday, January 21, 2013


He is lurking out there writhing above the ocean waves sending his tendrils fanning out snatching the branches and leaves from the trees.   'Gales are expected'  the warnings say - well we have had gales all day long and now the constant roar and ocean's fury is unrelenting and he is sitting at the bottom of the Gulf.  The town is Code Blue - cyclone conditions apply.   We are used to ferocious storms up here and quietly await what Mother Nature brings.   Fortunately we are a few houses from the beach and the difference in the wind is noticeable when walking around the corner to the beachfront road.  

We do have a new Cyclone Shelter - I think they may be tiling the inside - ironic if in its near completion it may come into use.   Such a shame its position is so close to the shore where wind velocity is at its highest and parking in cyclonic conditions would be an interesting exercise with all the trees in its vicinty.    I am not sure what the safest option would be if conditions did require transport to the shelter.  

Anyway I have covered my kiln just in case the wind damages my kiln shed roof.  My little outside 'studio' area has not been touched so fingers crossed Oswald will kindly cross the coast at some uninhabited point south of us and lose its strength.  Fortunately these early houses were designed with cyclones in mind and aligned with the narrowest end facing a typical coastal onslaught.   Since their construction the town has only had minor 'blows' so we have been lucky.   The Cape is a big area and land seems to soften their fury.

At least I have very little pottery sitting out there - probably a good thing as it is getting blasted with spray from these wild winds.  We have been complaining about no rain - well its raining now and the late Wet has certainly begun.   I think my visiting friend spoke too much about the lack of rain to the 'Old People' a week ago and they have given him his answer!    He will be smiling down there in suburbia!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Three is now four!

 Yesterday another little boy came into the family.   Welcome little one and congratulations to my lovely middle son and his partner on adding this bundle to our brood.

It has been such a long time since I have put thoughts in print and I am still not quite settled enough to put my energy into things, especially pottery, but that will come..............next year!  I have more important things to do with my hands - they have to hold this precious little baby grandson.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Today is one of those big ones age wise.....

Thought I would quickly go down to my favourite place today and take some photos to add to the morning pictures of family and gifts for my big 60!    We have had some blustery weather and many trees toppling under the onslaught.   The little stand of beach paperbarks are slowly secumbing to the pounding waves despite their huge lateral roots clinging to the sand.  There was safety in numbers and the entertwining root systems held them together but last year's huge tides and rough weather broke this combined force and they are slowly falling prey to the ocean's fury.   We are all part of this ever changing world - how lucky am I to have had 60 years of living and a great family to share it with.