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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, unusual, gnarled and beaten are the most inspiring.

Blue Moon 
Dyed wood and silver necklace

One of a few new pieces in the SPACE range, designed for
Nell's Emporium in Mosman Park. 


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Doing the research

I am constantly amazed and humbled by the level of sophistication, not to mention dedication, inherent in the artisan traditions here in Bali. I know so little (I'm rather embarrassed to say) however I do know that I appreciate them very much! This is a place where it is the norm, rather than the exception, to spend one's time in making things by hand. 

indigo dyeing(before)

Recently I did some research on the use of natural dyeing in Bali (online, of course and from the comfort of my small but perfectly comfortable villa nestled in the rice fields ... nothing hard about this kind of research!) and discovered Tarum Natural Dye in Gianyar.

black dye vat

It is a small and seemingly very productive company, started by two brothers in 2001 who did the research, learning about the plants, the traditional techniques and processes of natural dyeing in order to create a viable business. Visitors are welcome and I gather they offer workshops (see their Facebook page). Spending time with An…

Foraging and gathering

Two months after having decamped to the tropics some 2000 km north (leaving all my art and clay supplies at home), I am at last settling back into working with clay. A 30kg bag, some basic tools and simple forms to get the ball rolling (unintended pun!)

I'm always happy to work with the bare minimum - fewer variables, less choices, more play! However, the other day, heading to Singapore on a day trip for a visa extension, I discovered a ceramics studio with all the supplies I could possibly need ... including some colour underglazes. 

laguna underglaze colours and a big soft brush

underglaze applied on greenware

the glaze-fired version

If you are in Singapore and curious to track down some ceramics supplies, you could check out Goodman Ceramics Studio. It's also a place to go and do ceramics as well as buy supplies. 

Meanwhile ... I will continue to battle with the pinch pot. Such a simple form and technique, but amazingly tricky to get the exact degree of imperfection that makes it…

Drawing life

Some recent works exploring the use of line on ceramics.

Using underglaze and the right dilution (trial and error) to achieve flow, rhythm, contrasts of transparency and solidity with the overall aim (flying by the seat of my pants) of creating an image that works.

Mind you it's not about achieving perfection. Mistakes and awkwardness can lend an air of spontaneity and surprise. 

The drawings themselves are reminders of freedom and playfulness, at-oneness with the natural world, dreaming and desire for exploration and expression. 

Luckily, I think, art offers all those aspects in abundance!