Thursday, March 27, 2008

Diem Chau

I came across the work of Diem Chau (via bloesem) today. This is a woman after my own heart, combining ceramics and textiles the way she does - embroidering on to ceramic plates and cups. I'm really not quite sure how she does it, but its working for me! You can check out more of her work here.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Race against time

It's a race against time in my studio at the moment - but I think I'm winning! I've just put the final finishing touches on the Ipswich Houses Project and it is all ready to rock! I haven't had a chance to photograph it properly yet though, just a few dodgy home shots, but will post images of the final work once it's all been photographed (by someone who knows what they're doing!!) In the meantime, here's a few little sneak peaks (above).

One of my favourite pieces is a vessel that has an excerpt from the memoirs of Tom Welsby, the son of the original owner and builder of the house. His memoirs begin in 1863 with a vivid (and sensitive) recollection of the local indigenous people, who would congregate for days at a time on a field out the front of the house (now the Ipswich Grammar School). As a four year old child the scenes left a vivid and lasting impression on him. I was riveted by his recollections of life as a young boy in Ipswich in the 1860s, and pored over them for hours, all beautifully handwritten in a big old book in the collection of the Royal Historical Society of QLD.

I'm really looking forward to seeing how the other artists involved in this project - jewellers, photographers, painters - have responded to their houses. A little bit of a wait though - the works won't be exhibited until 2009!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Kenji Uranishi at Spiral

If you happen to be living in or passing through Tokyo in the next couple of weeks (and I know some of you are!) make sure you hunt down Kenji Uranishi’s show at Spiral Market from March 31st to April 13th. It is sure to be a beautiful exhibition - they always are! And if you can read Japanese there’s a little bit more info here!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Two Fat Ladies

Our latest batch of little people have just come out of the kiln. Looks like they’ve been getting up to a bit of mischief while our backs were turned huh!! Actually, the one on the right looks remarkably like me at the moment, with only a couple of weeks to go before having my very own (real life) little person! Yikes! So it might go a little quiet on the blogging front for a while....!!

You can check out a few recent updates of the Little People's adventures here.

Juicy Debate

I jumped on the computer this morning to have a quick look at some blogs, and two and a half hours later I am still glued to the screen by a discussion I found (via Extreme Craft) on alternative craft and the indie craft movement. It all began with a lecture presented by Bruce Metcalfe and Andrew Wagner (editor-in-chief of American Craft Magazine) at the recent SNAG conference in America. A post on this blog led to a much larger discussion, which has since been picked up and fuelled further by Extreme Craft and American Craft , with all kinds of interesting folks weighing in on the discussion. It’s choc-full of interesting observations, arguments and debates - my brain is a-whizzing!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Sew Sophisticated!

My friend Alex (maker of my all time favourite cups) just sent me the best little package from the U.S. of A containing (among other things) this hilarious picture from an old womens magazine...
I bet that little cardigan she’s knitting will smell real nice when she’s done smoking those ciggies!! And don’t you think she looks more like she should be out milking a cow rather than knitting cardigans?? And this little picture below was on the back in the “Pick of the month in smart, artistic needlework” section….this smart little collar and cuff set is really something, and that woman…so sophisticated!!

White Pigeons

A couple of weeks ago I posted a picture of a white porcelain pigeon I made (and here's another little one above). There’s quite a lot of pigeons, in various forms, in this upcoming show of mine. My nana’s second husband was a pigeon fancier, and during the Second World War he served in New Guinea in the Australian Corps of Signals Pigeon Service looking after the messenger pigeons. There are some incredible stories surrounding the feats of these little birds in World War Two, some of them even being awarded medals of bravery after surviving against incredible odds (exhaustion, tropical storms, being shot down by snipers, attacks by hawks and falcons) to deliver messages that sometimes resulted in saving the lives of hundreds of people. Clever little birds.

As kids we used to climb up the wonky narrow steps to his huge pigeon loft and peer in at the cooing (and stinky) birds, and a shelf in my nana's lounge room was packed high with shiny golden pigeon racing trophies that he had won over the years! We always thought his obsession with them was just a little bit strange, but the more I read about these little critters, the more I can understand his fascination!

Kamenendo and I were having a cuppa at Bum Crane’s house a couple of weeks ago when in flew this little beauty.
I’ve never seen a white pigeon before, and it was kind of spooky she flew in just after I’d made one. I’m thinking I might make a big porcelain pot of gold next…you never know what might turn up!!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Australian Ceramic Stories

I’ve just sent off some work to the upcoming exhibition Australian Ceramic Stories that is being held at the Western Plains Cultural Centre (Dubbo Regional Gallery). That’s a nice big red line through my things-to-do list. I’m really excited about being part of this show, not only because of the amazing line up of ceramic artists I’m exhibiting with, but because the whole theme of the show is right up my alley. The curatorial premise was inspired by Matthius Ostermann’s book “The Ceramic Narrative” and looks at the ways in which Australian ceramic artists are using clay to tell their stories. Love a good yarn I do! And Australians really do have such a distinctive and unique way of story telling. Here’s the fancy official blurb:

Australian Ceramic Stories explores the use of narrative in contemporary Australian ceramics. Surveying the work of artists from across the country, the exhibition will include many new works by some of Australia’s most highly regarded ceramic artists. Dubbo Regional Gallery - The Armati Bequest is staging the exhibition from 5 April - 18 May 2008 at Western Plains Cultural Centre. Curated by Dr Julia Jones, the exhibition brings together the work of artists from all parts of Australia, offering a unique view of contemporary ceramic practice. The curatorial concept is inspired by international ceramicist Matthias Ostermann’s research which resulted in the book The Ceramic Narrative in 2006. The exhibition will explore how “stories” are told in Australian ceramics, highlighting the various ways that clay is used to express them. All of the ceramicists tell stories about Australia in ways that stretch the narrative capabilities of clay, and draw our attention to the versatility of the medium. The exhibition will seek to engage with contemporary themes and ideas in the broader visual arts and ceramic practices and examine the various ways in which narrative is a crucial element in their work.

Participating artists are Stephen Benwell, Louise Boscacci, Kris Coad, Patrick Collins, Bern Emmerichs, Gudrun Klix, Pip McManus, Fleur Schell, Vipoo Srivilasa, Thanakupi, Gerry Wedd, and me! There's also a great forum being held in conjunction with the show, and you can read all about that here.

(images above: From left - Gerry Wedd, Pip McManus, Mel Robson)