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Prompting

Today I enlisted the help of my daughter in the studio. We started the day pricing and tagging and making folded paper bags for packaging (a nifty technique shown to me by a fellow traveller on my first trip to Indonesia many years ago). 
As the day wears on and she is back from collecting supplies, she gravitates to the computer and suggests I should update the blog and so she begins on my behalf ...."I've been keeping busy in the studio working on a range of ceramics for the upcoming Bazaar, held at the Fremantle Arts Center. This will be my 10th year of my work being showcased at the event and it is exciting to see my work evolve each year ..."
"You don't have to use it, I just wanted to prompt you into writing something on your blog", she says. 
Thanks Valentina - consider it done!


Ceramic birds with whittled olive wood beaks, on dried grass, in a papier mache bowl, in a Japanese box, evening shadows, click click, an image uploaded, a blog post!




A moment in time

Unfired ceramics

Lately I seem to be hovering around what I would call a rather Scandanavian palette ... feeling very comfortable with white, off-white, neutral, plain, unadorned. I'm sure there's a trend in there but it might also have something to do with the non-committal aspect of non-decoration - calm, understated, quiet. A moment in time which encourages stillness and reflection, before the next step is taken. 


Principles of Good Design

Indigo Wash plate
I am so pleased to think that I may just have demonstrated principle #2 of the esteemed industrial designer Dieter Rams' 10 Principles of Good Design, namely, thatGood Design Makes a Product Useful!

I recently delivered some new ceramic pieces to Nells, setting them up for display on a lovely old table where they looked happy and quite at home... then returned a couple of days later to find one of the scrumptious dishes from the cafe poised on one of the plates! It was actually quite an ah-ha moment, seeing something that I had rolled, cut, slumped, shaped, smoothed, coloured and glazed suddenly transformed into an object of perfect usefulness, not to mention all the more aesthetically pleasing with the marrying of its complementary orange colours. My immediate reaction was to take the dish down from the counter and outside to the white-washed table and photograph it!(having asked first of course).

Birds going round in circles

I wouldn't really say that 'going round in circles' applies to me at all [a phrase defined here as using a lot of time and effort trying to do something, without making any progress]. However, since drawing these three birds on a plate, the idea presented itself, aroused my curiosity and here I am exploring it, albeit briefly (not wishing to spend a lot of time and effort on the subject).
It has led me to ponder the idea of progress (vs wasted effort) and how one measures it (progress). As an artist, I like spending time on something (with something), exploring, getting to know, experimenting, trial and error etc ... all a necessary part of the creative process. Sometimes you do go round in circles, coming back to the starting point, but generally with a new point of view, or perhaps (hopefully) a deeper understanding and the urge to try something new.
This is progress! 








Dalliance

An ink drawing produced today is based on a painting by Charles Blackman ["Evening Light"], a print of which sits above the computer in the studio and which occasionally catches my eye, pulling me into that other, inner world of introspection, stillness and silence.

I love the rawness and 'realness' of spontaneous drawing - a sudden urge to make marks is a satisfying counterpoint to the considered and measured approach which is required in the production model of designing and making for market.

There is also the element of rebellion amongst it all ... I have been VERY disciplined of late, working to a rigourous schedule, driven by self-determined KPIs, producing enough ceramic pieces to make sure there is no shortage should I be inundated with a massive order (you never know!!) 

Grabbing a stick, a pot of ink, a pre-painted sheet of wallpaper (lucky about that)... dipping and drawing the stick across the page whilst referring to the original image occasionally, not to …
Papier Mache Bowls

These papier mache bowls were made today using a lovely moody blue egg carton. Just one egg carton, mind you, resulted in six bowls. Since the blue is an ongoing theme these days I decided to take time out to pulp and pour and create something a little different, humble, earthy but nevertheless exotic.

If you are at all excited by this well then you can try it yourself! I have written some instructions on the PROJECTS page (top right)

Have fun!
Yuniko Studio is featured today on The Design Files !





If you are reading this post after following the link from TDF then you will know about The Design Files and I need not say more! If not, then I can only say it's a great site and an honour to have been selected.

Thank you The Design Files!








Angelita Bonetti photographing  Yuniko Studio in her studio



















Not so long ago it was suggested I had my work photographed by a professional photographer - a new website being developed for Nells in Mosman Park. Now that Yuniko Studio is hanging out in this rather cutting edge venue it was high time I thought, to start taking things a little more seriously. The age-old dilemma for the modern-day artisan (a tautology perhaps but one can be creative with language in order to make a point) is how much can one person do beyond the complex and time-consuming processes of thinking, designing and making? It was a very interesting experience watching Angelita work quietly and with great focus, taking her time to set up what seemed like the simplest of shots - stripped of any distraction (such was the brief by the stylist) and hard up against a raw background (which I love)of concrete floor, an old chair, or a weathered wood door.


LINKS
Nells in Mosman Park Western Australia
Angelita Bonetti photograp…

Naked

A day spent playing with clay - creating shapes by rolling, cutting, blending, paddling ... although Sunday, a rest day, actually a work day, driven by dreams and late night imaginings you wouldn't believe, though you probably would, because at the end of the day, we all think similar thoughts and have similar experiences




I needed to find some order out of chaos and it occurred to me that things work well in sets, so I experimented and created some 




Here they are, barely off the drawing board, rendered real and shown in their naked state.

Combinations and permutations

spots



wash



light and dark



old favourites

The reformation period

Crochet silver wire necklace

Three piece necklace

Beaten silver pendant necklace

It occurred to me this morning as I was beating away at a brass bangle found in the op-shop, reshaping, refolding and reducing it to an intriguingly deformed object (that could potentially be a piece of adornment), that there is a tendency in my work of late to REFORM. 



Beaten brass pendant  (reformed bangle)
I like to work with found materials and objects as a starting point, as opposed to having a concept first then looking for the ways and means to realize a piece. Sometimes this means simply breaking found objects into their individual components and putting a few unrelated pieces back together in a way that is new and fresh - I like that!

Other times and with great delight out comes the hammer and things get thoroughly beaten and flattenned .... all the while witnessing the materials being reshaped and the object reformed - I really like that!









Free floating

Woman resting on a patchwork quilt



Having decided to create my own version of a sabbatical this year, I am temporarily and deliberately working without much direction and doing as I feel (sounds pretty pretentious and pompous perhaps but I assure you I have been working very HARD over the past ten years and it's good to step back and see where things are at). 



Wire flowers in vase


I still spend most of my time in the studio but rather than working relentlessly making things with a view to selling, the emphasis is on exploring and experimenting. 

Earthenware bowls on hand dyed and stitched linen mat (on the projects page)



Working with clay is very meditative and demands a slower pace than what I have been used to. You can't hurry the drying and firing which means at least two weeks before one can see the results. 


The jewellery-making area


And here is an area of great explorations involving much trial and error, making use of recycled materials, found and re-purposed objects - odd, unu…

Carved and Etched

Carving away designs etched into underglaze on earthenware 


A light touch and plenty of experimenting with different tools to find the one that works best ...


accidental and deliberate marks ... wabi sabi  [beauty in imperfection] ... reminds one of murals, frescoes, graffiti

Design experiments

Ceramic cups with carved design

Ceramics

Bird looking





Bird flying




Bird asleep




Woman and the moon
I learned many interesting things today after a creative session with a friend who arrived with brushes, ink and inspiration. I have always loved the simplicity of ink wash drawings, but never thought to try it. Semi-controlled mark-making, focusing on the application of ink and the movement of the  brush. For example, dip the brush in water and dry off on a cloth. Dip in half-strength ink then dip just the tip in full strength ink. Hold the brush down on the paper and twirl in a circle. Use a pointed stick/twig and full strength ink for detail. 

Coiled basket project

Coiled and stitched plant-fibre basket

I thought it might be interesting to (re)introduce a projectspage to the blog (over on the top right). Here you will find something about the processes behind the products and maybe be inspired to explore and experiment for your own pleasure and delight!


The benefits of staying put

silk bags on a rusty chair

While wandering the world has great appeal, staying put in one place and attending to a task  from start to finish  (no interruptions or distractions  and with  complete focus and determination  to get the thing done) has proven (for today at least) that staying put has its benefits


Twenty pieces of jewellery  in twenty new silk bags twenty pieces of paper string twenty photos twenty tags twenty cards one catalogoue  with twenty descriptions
A good day's work. More HERE


mud sticks and needles

I will never tire of playing with mud






or of making marks with sticks





or embellishing things with needles



Self portraits and pushing the boundaries

This is me, or a version of me. A self-portrait using a timer setting (and later a bit of highlighting, contrasting, shadowing and saturating). It's an accidental pose taken before I went away and needed a passport photo for a visa when I was much too busy to go and get it done properly! 

I had the camera set up on the bench and stood against the wall under the painting (of course I was going to crop the painting out of the portrait). I was aiming for a formal stance but the hand went up, the shutter clicked and the photo was done. 

Sensibly, in the end, I went and had one taken 'professionally' - a mundane version of oneself that satisfies border patrol officials but which causes a certain degree of discomfort every time one takes a  glimpse at oneself. I wonder what goes through the minds of customs officials when they hold up the passport and check the person in front of them. Their faces never give anything away!


Traditional portraiture artist in Hanoi

When I came across t…

At home and back to work

Doorway in Hanoi
It is as if I am standing at the front door of a house from which I have been away for a long time. The door is open and I see it's rather dusty inside and it's been empty for a while. When I left a month ago, it was the day after the last market I vowed and declared I would ever do! There was no time to unpack my things from the market, I was completely pooped and still had to pack a small bag to take with me to Vietnam. I hate doing things in a rush, though I knew this was coming and I had made time to plan a speedy stress-less getaway. A month of travelling, observing, discovering and my favourite pastime, thinking. The culmination of travelling though is coming home and so here I am, opening the front door to Yuniko Studio once again.Time to get back to work!






Chefs in Hanoi on a break