Monday, April 4, 2011
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Well you know I love a bit of text, and I'm quite keen on ceramics too, so its nice to be part of a show that celebrates all things ceramicky AND texty. Here's the exhibition blurb, and a big thank you to Sophie Milne and Ingrid Tufts for organising the show. Its at Pan Gallery in Melbourne, and opens March 3rd. Pop along if you can!
"Text on ceramics has a long and rich history, from ancient pictograms scratched on clay tablets to provocative works from the conceptual art movement of the 60s and 70s. Forming Words is an exhibition designed to explore and articulate ideas within this popular movement in ceramic practice.
Ceramic art has the ability to communicate without words, through touch, sight and use, making the decision to incorporate text a deliberate and potentially provocative choice. Eight Australian ceramicists exhibit works that explore how the written word furthers our appreciation of a three dimensional artwork, merging text and form to convey a cohesive idea."
Exhibiting artists: Jane Walton, Connie Lichti, Kylie Johnson, Mel Robson, Jan Downes, Ingrid Tufts, Wendy Hadfield-Smith, Sarit Cohen
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Friday, January 28, 2011
Have a look at their brand new blog.
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Friday, December 3, 2010
Thursday, November 25, 2010
We’ve just come back from a few days in Alice Springs, checking out the town and surrounds, which in just a few short weeks is going to be our new home! Yep, Central Australia here we come! Its all very exciting! The Engineer (in collaboration with the sun) will be working on solving the world’s energy problems, and me and the little lady…well, we haven’t quite worked out what we’ll be doing there yet!
The desert certainly did a good job of wooing us though – after all the near record rainfall it was a mild 28 degrees, the Todd river was flowing, the hills were covered in green (!!!), and purple and yellow wildflowers were sprouting everywhere! Somehow I don’t think January is going to be quite like that, but it was magic and any small anxieties I had about leaving the big smoke dissipated within 5 minutes of arriving.
So, I will be hanging up the overalls for a while, and I must confess that I am quite excited about the prospect of a break from making - its been an exhausting couple of years! I will still be doing some work to finish off my Australia Council project, and a few other projects that are already underway, but it will be nice to pull back a little and soak up some new scenery, some new experiences and some new adventures.
The next few weeks are all about the mammoth task of packing up my studio and our house….or I could just keep sitting here blogging. Four posts in one day…I think that’s more than I’ve done all year!
I believe this is called procrastination.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Thursday, September 30, 2010
A couple of years ago I worked on a fantastic project with the Ipswich Art Gallery, who over the last few years have been commissioning QLD artists to create “house portraits” of some of the heritage houses of the area. They invited artists across a range of different mediums to respond to these houses, resulting in an amazing collection of diverse artworks all currently on show at the gallery. This was a bit of dream project for me and I really lost myself in researching the history of the house, the area and its past occupants (more about that here and here and here). The show is summed up nicely with the gallery blurb:
A picturesque and illuminating foray into the history and vision of Queensland’s early domestic architecture as seen through the eyes of 13 contemporary Queensland artists, "The Ipswich House" examines the city’s significant architectural heritage through a selection of commissioned ‘house portraits’ across a diverse range of mediums.
These house portraits are more than mere pictorial representations of the city’s heritage-listed buildings, instead offering explorations into the architectural design, construction and fabrication methods while also exposing more than a hint of the personal histories and memories of their former residents.
So please drop by the Ipswich Art Gallery if you can to see the results of this most excellent project. The show includes works by Noel McKenna, Jane Burton, Barbara Heath, Michael Zavros, Richard Stringer, Maureen Hansen, Carl Warner, Annie Hogan, Christina Waterson , Madeleine Kelly, Bruce Buchanan, Judy Barrass and myself. There is also a very beautiful catalogue available with some great insights into each artists’ approach.
Exhibition runs until November 14th 2010
(image above: Jane Burton,2010, Pigment print, 43 cm x 43 cm)
Friday, September 10, 2010
My studio is gleeeeeeeaming. Aaah, such a nice feeling. It took me almost two days to clean it out. A massive spring clean. I almost didn’t want to use it again, so nice was it to have it in such sparkling order!! But I am about to embark on a new adventure and, along with the buying of shiny new journals and sketchbooks, the studio spring clean is an essential part of the ritual. I recently received an Australia Council grant to make some new work for a solo show next year, and so I am just starting to turn my attention to this, getting ready for the rollercoaster ride that inevitably accompanies the development of new work! I have a starting point, but as always there are a kazillion directions I could go in, so many half formed ideas from the last couple of distracted years, and so many processes and techniques I want to experiment with.
So I’ve spent the last few weeks madly scribbling down all my ideas and thoughts, trying to sift through it all, distill it down and work out a clearer direction. It’s a slow process, especially when you have a two year old vying for your attention and constantly demanding to play dress ups!
Developing new work is a process I both love and hate. It’s a process I know so well and yet one I can never take for granted. For me, the thrill and freedom of experimenting and researching and playing goes hand in hand with a kind of anxiety, because the whole way along you never quite know what the outcome will be. There are so many unknowns - and that can be both exciting and unnerving.
Rebecca Solnit writes in her book A Field Guide to Getting Lost (recently recommended to me by Marianne Huhn) that when it comes to discovery “it seems to be an art of recognizing the role of the unforseen, of keeping your balance amid surprises, of collaborating with chance, of recognizing that there are some essential mysteries in the world and thereby a limit to calculation, to plan, to control”.
That’s kind of it in a nutshell! So, here goes. Time to mess the studio up again.
Thursday, September 9, 2010
Monday, August 16, 2010
I’m currently working my way through a commissioned series of beakers to be used as gifts for new members of FORM. It’s part of a membership drive that has already seen 400 very lovely Marianne Huhn cups go out to lucky new members (including me). Like many of our organisations advocating for craft/design/creativity in this country, FORM play a really important and crucial role in supporting artists and fostering awareness and creativity in the community. I’ve received a lot of support from these organisations over the years, for which I am eternally grateful. Not sure if I would have been able to steer my way through the sometimes overwhelming journey from wide eyed student to a professional practice without them.
I was a little daunted by this commission at first. I start going a bit loopy repeating the same process over and over again and would never cut it as a production potter. But it has actually proven to be quite a relaxing and enjoyable process so far. I set myself up at my work table with everything laid out, make a nice cup of tea and a few snacks to keep me going, turn on Radio National and away I go. Pour wipe polish paint cut paste stick pour wipe polish paint cut paste stick. Its nice to just focus on the one thing for a change, instead of flying around trying to do ten things at once, which is how it usually is in my studio these days.
So now, not only do you get all the information, invitations, publications and benefits of being a member of FORM, you’ll also receive a little ole Mel Robson beaker too. Now if that’s not a reason to join, then I don’t know what is….!
127 down, 73 to go!
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Friday, May 21, 2010
Now when it comes to tools I know there are a lot of people out there who like to make their own. I admire that, but I’m not one of them. I’m more than happy to pop down to the shop and buy myself a shiny new ready made tool. So I must say I was rather proud of myself recently for doing a bit of DIY in the tool department.
I’ve been playing around with some new work that will require handles. Now I can pull handles from clay, but I seem to be only ever able to pull one kind of handle. Every time I try to make them a little differently they just don’t look quite right. So I decided to save myself a whole lot of time and frustration and whip myself up a little hand extruder with the help of this video (via ceramic arts daily) and a very amusing character called Dave Henry. A quick trip to Bunnings for a caulking gun and some PVC pipe, a bit of drilling and sawing, and voila, my very own hand extruder with 3 different handle forms (so far). It’s a corker! I keep hearing James Bond and Mission Impossible soundtracks in my head as I aim at the bench and watch the handles ooze out!
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Sunday, April 25, 2010
Friday, April 9, 2010
Well now how did that happen? I took a blogging break over christmas and next thing I know its April! Oops.
I’ve been having a lovely time in the studio of late. I’ve spent the last few weeks mixing up glaze tests. I’ve been working with the same tried and trusted glazes for years. They’ve been perfect for the kind of work I’ve been doing (and there’s nothing like reliability when it comes to meeting deadlines), but I’m after something a little different. Not wild and crazy different, just different to before. So I dug out all my old notes on glaze chemistry, hunted down my dusty glaze text books, set up my scales and sieves, and donned my dust mask (which is always a good look, especially after wearing it for an hour or so when its just that weeeee bit too tight).
When I started studying ceramics I remember dreading the glaze chemistry subjects. Those baffling charts and calculations were a bit overwhelming to start with. But I surprised myself at how much I enjoyed it. Really, its kind of amazing what you can create by mixing up a few simple substances, and the possibilities are endless. So I’ve been having a ball getting back into it after all these years. All I need now is for a nice big gas kiln to drop from the sky and install itself in my studio. My trusty electric kilns are great, but electricity just doesn’t cut it when it comes to certain glazes. Ah well. Sometimes you just gotta work with what you’ve got.I’ve also been working on some new wall tiles (pics above and below). I’ve refined the form a little, made them bigger (a whopping great 10cm x 10cm), and have been playing with inlaying different stoneware clay bodies into porcelain and combining it all with drawings and decals. There's a bit more work to be done on these, but as with most things I make these days…slowly slowly.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
I have a love hate relationship with plaster. So much can go right with it, but so much can go wrong with it too. But today when I went down into the studio and saw all the finished moulds on my workbench it was all about the love. There is an indescribable quality to plaster that sometimes just takes my breath away. A day or two after it has been cast, before it is completely dry, it has this amazing sheen to it and reflects a beautiful soft light. Its cool and so smooth and clean and white and I just want to hold it against my cheek! In my recent musings on process I have been toying with some new ideas of working with plaster as the end, rather than simply as the means to an end.