Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Porcelain in Perth

Its been a couple of years since I've made any of my recipe bowls. And after labouring over these ones I remember why I stopped! But I must admit that despite the time-consuming, finicky, nerve-wracking process, every time I pull one of these finished pieces out of the kiln I still get a little thrill and am amazed by the versatility of clay. Bloody marvellous stuff it is!

I’ve just sent five of these bowls over to an exhibition in Perth.  Each bowl is decorated with a poem or a recipe in the handwriting of some pretty amazing women in my family. I got quite sentimental as they sat there all together on my workbench, this little collection of bowls covered in the handwriting of sisters, aunts, mothers and grandmothers.  

My favourite part of the process is getting up close and personal with the intricacies and intimacies of the handwriting.  I find it fascinating as I zoom in and cut and paste and fiddle with the scans of their recipe books, letters and poems on my computer, noticing the little nuances each of them has, the way they underline a word (curly, straight, wispy, defined) the frequent use of exclamation marks, or lack of, the little messages and notes to would-be readers (“enjoy!!”) and the slants, curls and whirls of each woman’s hand.  I am always left with a strange (and lovely) sense of having spent time with them.

This time I was also left with a grumbling tummy after working on my mum’s coffee cheesecake recipe…oooh, its amaaaazing! Brings back childhood memories of dinner parties where she would make her famous lasagne followed by the cheesecake, the dining room table crowded with women with hair down to their bums and men with afros and fuzzy beards and flares (it was the 70s).  Us kids would just hang around till we got our feed of cheesecake and then nick off back to the rare luxury of staying up late and watching telly!

So, if you happen to be over in Perth you can check out this little collection at a show called “Highlights of Contemporary Australian Porcelain” at Gadfly Gallery, along with the work of Robin Best, Pippin Drysdale, Kirsten Coelho, Bruce Nuske and Jane Robertson. It opens this Friday (Sept 18th) and runs until October 11th