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Showing posts from 2014

Getting on with things

The Green Wall studio with a glimpse inside

I am pleased to report that I have been experiencing a rather intensive, productive, solitudinous (if I may be able to concoct such a word)time in a new found space back in Perth which could be aptly named The Green Wall Studio. A quick visit home has become a slightly elongated stay ... a few more weeks as the time is not yet right to move on (real life sometimes gets in the way)... another bag of clay, new shapes to make, designs to apply ... a perfect opportunity to get on with things that have been held back by a peripatetic lifestyle.

Here are a few samples ...

spotted and striped cups

brushed bowls

indigo edged

Wrapping, packing and pondering

Raw raku bowl and plate

Time to move on again ... off to the southern side of the world in a few days with a brief stop home to say hello to family and friends, set up another temporary studio space, restock dwindling ceramic supplies and create some new pieces (inspired by what's come out of the old kitchen studio). I would once have said "impossible!" to the idea that one can make on the move but happily it has been possible - an adequate amount of time, a bit of space, the most basic of materials and equipment, a simplified approach and the willingness to focus and surpass the "it's all too hard" hurdle. Oh so proud of myself, she jests!! 

Cream raku bowl and plate

Not that it has been easy and not that great things have emerged from it all (not that I expected either ease or greatness!). And not that you want to know all about the artist's and the ego's struggles I'm sure! For me, the success of the adventure comes from having managed to create…

Inside the studio

I am back in the new old studio in Sardinia after a month away - an unexpected jaunt responding to an invitation to join my elderly mother whose indominatable spirit brought her 20,000 km to see Europe one last time (she says). It made me think about how far away I am too - a long way from home, family, the studio and everything familiar. And about doing what you want to do. It's been a challenge to up and leave home and since arriving in Sardinia I made sure I found a way to continue art-making at least for a sense of continuity and to stay grounded. It's all very lovely to travel around and see things but there is nothing like getting lost in a creative space to feel completely satisfied. 
I've enjoyed my time in the old kitchen studio immensely, experimenting with new clays, facing challenges and at times wanting to give up (hard when you don't have the proper tools, the space is restricted, you are regularly interrupted by curious relatives - you are a curiosity aft…

Time and tide in Sardinia

Studio door 

 Mountain backdrop near Gonnesa

Sardinia is an old and rugged place and has so much natural beauty - large craggy mountains and a huge blue sea are the main features of the area I'm staying in. It's fresh, raw and basic and gives one a feeling of having been shaped and formed over a long, long time. Impossible not to be affected in some way.

Bowls and plates

These are the first pieces to emerge from my new old studio in Sardinia. I am working in a small room that was once a kitchen, a little over a metre wide. I managed to locate some clay and a rolling pin and a few found objects were all that was needed to get started. The clay is a little rough and gritty and posed an initial challenge ... like a wilful child it wasn't going to give me what I expected: a well-behaved, smooth and even finish. 
Working with clay is all about shaping and forming, understanding the nature of the material and working with, rather than against it. After a slow and somewhat dubiou…


Detail from a 14 century painting in the Piinacoteca Nazionale Siena

A few weeks down the track and a chance to sit still for a bit, have a look through photos and come up with a theme that fits the moment. It's an absolute luxury to set up camp for a few days and take stock. I don't mind the constant movement - it's exciting, interesting, exhausting at times and  that's what comes with having selected the impulsive travelling option and yet of course it's a temporary state of affairs and will one day be a memory rather than every day reality.... could one take up a nomadic life in this day and age and keep going indefinitely I wonder?
Anyway .... Back to the here and now. I have selected a few photos of hands that are from paintings or real life, taken along the way. Why, you ask? Well in a few days we will have arrived at a sort of destination end-point and this means that I can start being productive, explorative, creative again with my own hands!

Hands with gol…

Saris at the station

Waiting on the platform at the train station in Gaya, India. The train is three hours late. There are no seats except for a few concrete benches built around pillars but people wait patiently or lie asleep on sheets of plastic. Beggars, food sellers and half naked mad men come and go. Even the odd cow wanders through. On the opposite side of the platform a steady stream of passengers arriving and leaving - bursts of colour as sari-clad women walk past

Finding colour

Wood carving on a bale post at the water gardens, Klung Kung, Bali

Black and white sand at Blue Lagoon, Padangbai, Bali

Farmer in the rice field, Penestanan, Bali

As a keen collector of found objects, I am bemused by the fact that, having become a nomad, it is just not a good idea to find and collect things. Instead, wandering around with camera in hand (phone actually but it's annoying lugging around every piece of equipment one might need while out and about) means that the collecting tendency can be assuaged by snapping shots and storing a seemingly infinite number on the library shelves in my trusty nifty iPad's photo room - to be brought out, looked at, played with, written about and inspired by, whenever there's a need or desire. 

A visit to the ceramics factory Bali

For a while now I have been interested in researching the production of handmade ceramics in other places and having left home for a spot of travel, exploration, research and development as well as some general sightseeing, a good place to start is Bali - close to home and the first stop in a journey across the globe. 
A week to settle in, set up house and  get to know the local area before venturing out of a peaceful, semi-rural area near Ubud into the busy streets around the city. First stop to the Indian consulate for a visa then a visit to the Kevala ceramics factory. Pretty impressive set-up and some lovely pieces are being made here. I guess the best thing about it is the networking, exchanging ideas and the opportunity to meet with people who speak the same language. 

Paint box bird

Paint box bird ceramic plate

This is one of my favourite recent pieces ... not at all sophisticated but it resonates with me for several reasons. I would say it's a 'found' image, something I have stumbled across and kept close to my heart ... albeit unconsciously ... emerging in an idle moment between the usual dashing of colour (usually blue, sometimes green or pink) across plates. It's a simple image of a bird, of course, but it is also personally evocative of memorable things such as one's first paintbox and the joys of playing with all those colours. I feel very comfortable with monochrome, but sometimes, I feel, it's good to get out the paintbox and throw around a bit of colour!

A moment of whimsy if you please ...

One might say [or think or ponder] why an artist should choose  to wander when there's much to do and people are waiting [poised ... anticipating] So as for me I can only say I am still right here and have not gone away ... 

... in the meantime some whimsical drawings done in idle moments on an ipad

 Man with flowers and a vase

 Two girls and a heart

 Woman and a cat

girl holding a heart

Clay-making continues, cloth is being cut, pieces stitched, studio rearranging [endlessly], attending of workshops [printing on clay ... molto interessante!!], discovering new magazines 
[New Philosopher "for curious and cultivated people looking for solutions to the general and fundamental issues faced by humankind" - now there's a good read]and a bit more besides!

Thanks for reading
Until the next post

Behind the scenes of a magazine shoot

Photo shoot Real Living magazine

Way back in November, well before thoughts of Christmas (I like to leave things to the last minute).. well I think it was November, at least somewhere in the past ... I received an email from a stylist at Real Living magazine - could I send some pieces over for a photo shoot? Hmmm I thought, do I want to do this? Why would I want to do this? I'm pretty busy... and who are you anyway?? Then the curious kicks in ... why not??? Generally (though at times a struggle), up for a new challenge I decided to go with it, gathered some pieces together, photographed them, emailed them, culled them, packaged the final selection, took a parcel to the post office and hoped the estimated delivery time would be the actual delivery time ... and only just made the deadline. A few months later, the photos have appeared in the March edition and I am suitably impressed, chuffed, rewarded. It's a small thing in the scheme of things but it's a happy experience seei…
here we are then ... back to cloth for a moment ... print, tie, dye et voila! linen and muslin thrown in to the dye pot. 

block print and tie-dye muslin scarf 

tie-dyed muslin scarf (potassium permanganate)