Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Making amidst the mayhem

Well its been a little quiet on the blog/work front lately…visiting family…house reno’s….perfect opportunities for procrastination! But in between all the mayhem I have managed to get some work out for the upcoming Art Sydney 07. Object Gallery will be representing my work there this year in October, which is very nice of them indeed! Among other things, I’ve made a limited edition series of these porcelain wall pieces with small spoon indentations in them (5cm x 12 cm)

I’m in the process of making a whole row of them to run along a wall in my kitchen. I rarely have time to make things for myself, but I’m determined to finish these ones, if it’s the last thing I do!! They’ll all be decorated with recipes written in my mum and my grandmothers handwriting, and I might just have to add my sisters and my own to that collection too. Saves getting out the recipe books!

Whenever I make work, I photograph it a lot - from all different angles, in different groupings, lines, rows, light. I find it gives me an added perspective on the work, which you sometimes miss when you’ve been working on something up close for a while. Sometimes it leads to new ideas, new thoughts on how to present work, new ideas on where to take it next.

And just in case you haven't noticed, I also have a bit of a compulsive need to arrange things in lines and rows and grids…aaaah....something sooooo satisfying about it!

I’ve also made a small edition of these bird wall vases (below). They’re part of a much bigger wall piece that I’m working on, but I just snuck a few out for those nice folk at Object!

Monday, August 27, 2007

More from South Australia

I may have to declare this month South Australian Ceramics month on my blog. It seems like every time I turn around another one is popping up doing something or other worth writing about! This time it’s the eminent Gerry Wedd, who you might notice is now included in my list of ceramic blog links. It seems Gerry wears a lot of hats – ceramicist, surfing champ, cartoonist, jeweller, clothing designer for mambo etc etc – but everything he does is infused with a great sense of humour and wit and a good dose of social commentary. I was lucky enough to catch his show WILLOW at Craft ACT a while back, and loved it. In his recent work he has taken the classic blue and white patterns used in ceramics and created his own very unique and very Australian interpretation! Lots of Australian icons and imagery - the ceramic thongs (that’s a shoe, not underwear, for you non-Australians!) being one of my fav’s! So make sure you check out his new blog - Weddwood!

And seeing as its aaaaalll about South Australia, here's a couple of pics of another top shelf South Australian ceramicist - Marie Littlewood's beauuuuuutiful beakers. Love em!

ok. that's quite enough blogging for one week. Oh bad little procrastinator I am. Must work in studio... must work in studio... must work in studio... must work...

Bricks and mortar

I really should be thinking about other things right now, but I’ve been getting distracted by this Ipswich House project, and reading up on some background. The city of Ipswich has a very rich ceramic history and even though its only a small city it supported a lot of potteries that made bricks, pipes and lots of domestic wares in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. None of the potteries remain today but there’s some great examples of their work in the collection of the city gallery. This selection of old local bricks (above) from the regions potteries really took my fancy. Love a good brick I do! My nana used to heat bricks up in her wood stove and wrap them up in a towel and put them in the end of our beds in the chilly Toowoomba winters when I was a kid!

This picture (above) took my fancy too. It’s a garden edge tile made by Thomas Shepherd in the late 1800s and impressed with his hand print.

A lot of the domestic pots were very simple and robust looking bottles and jugs and plates, although I must say some of them were a little….hmmm….shall we say decorative....

The catalogue describes them as being "occassionally eccentric" in their decorative embellishments! Mostly though they were very simple utilitarian pots that were used for very everyday things.
So me thinks that the gallery’s collection and all the historical records of the Ipswich Potteries are going to provide me with much fodder for this project. That old house must have seen some fine pots in its day. If only the walls could speak…
(All the above images were taken by Brian Hand and are from the Ipswich Art Gallery's publication Ipswich Potteries 1873-1926, with text by Geoff Ford)

Thursday, August 23, 2007

A house of ones own

This is my house. Kind of. I don’t live in it. I don’t own it. But I have been assigned to it! I had a much anticipated meeting with the Ipswich Art Gallery today, who are commissioning me to make a work about this heritage house for their collection. Oh yeaaaah, right up my alley! I can feel a session with white gloves in a dark dusty library coming on and my fingers are twitching already!

It was built in 1865 and used to be owned by an Australian poet called Thomas Shapcott, who wrote some very beautiful poems in it and about it. This is one of them….the layout of the text mirrors a cedar staircase inside the house.

Hmmm. Happy me. Projects like this make my day. As do the op shops at Ipswich. Bargains galore.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Melbourne delivers

Last week, despite the rather chilly and rainy weather and my resulting big bad head cold, I still managed to pound the streets of Melbourne, going from shop to shop, gallery to gallery, ooohing and aaahing at all the cool STUFF! The Chapel St Bazaar offered up this super find, an Italian ceramic/metal coffee pot....

...and Craft Victoria was full of so many beautiful ceramic pieces I kind of just spun around in circles not knowing what to pick up first. I finally settled on four of these beautiful bowls (below)by South Australian ceramicist Charmian Header, and I have eaten almost every meal out of them since I got home. They are so warm, and just a little wonky. I particularly love the white one, the subtle difference between the white slip pattern and the white glaze, the way it breaks to brown around the rim...Gee, those South Australians really know how to make nice pots!

The list gets longer...

I got an email from Emily Murphy the other day, who is a potter from Chicago. She has been a busy little bee lately and has put together a rather enormous list of ceramics/pottery blogs. It's a great list - lots of technical stuff, lots of peaks into peoples studios and lots of great and diverse work. On ya Emily! (Emily's soda-fired work above)

Monday, August 20, 2007

Home again home again jiggety jig

Home again! A bit of this...

and this...
and this...

is just what I needed! Back in the studio today to start playing around with a few new ideas that are slowly but surely worming their way up from the dark recesses of my grey matter. Hopefully my table won't be this clean and orderly for very long...