Tuesday, December 11, 2007


This is my sparkly clean desk in my sparkly clean office. And the reason it is all so sparkly is that I am DONE for the year! I'm about to pack my bags and we're heading off to New Zealand for three weeks, cruising the South Island in a little campervan!! Bliss! Big thanks to all who have visited my blog this last year - actually its almost a year to the day! It's been blogtastic! And if anyone has any hot tips for galleries, studios, artists, markets, towns, vistas, sights or any must-see's on the South Island, I'd love to hear about it! Feel free to leave a comment or email me! Happy New Year one and all! Hope its a ripper!!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

An excellent adventure

Today me and the other mud slingers (bum crane, kamenendo and yet-to-blogged-up Ginny Jones) went on a little adventure, an exercise in random spatial experience! It was an attempt to step out of our usual environment without having to spend lots of money or take up too much time (you know, busy busy). Here’s how it worked. We all met at Central Station. Then we threw a dice to determine which platform to go to...

Then we had to get on the very next train that came along that platform, regardless of where it was going. Then we threw the dice twice more to determine how long we stayed on the train.
A three, followed by a four, meant 34 minutes. So we got off at the very next stop after 34 minutes. We ended up in a suburb none of us had ever heard of before, called Altandi. Its kind of amazing how far you can get in a mere 34 minutes on the train in Brisbane!! The deal was that wherever we ended up we had to stay a minimum of an hour, even if it was hell on earth! It didn’t look like anything special at first, which was fine - we had a whole hour to find special things! And it didn’t take long…..
Yep, hidden away out there in Altandi are MAGIC BINS! We’re forbidden to tell you anymore about them, but boy were they GREAT! Then we stumbled across some local ceramic sculpture….
...discovered a super yummy Indian restaurant….and a very special Golden Elephant...
...and then sadly our hour was up and we headed home with camera’s full of possibly useful/inspirational/kind of odd images, full bellies and all caught up on eachother’s recent goings on! A most excellent adventure indeed!

Light on a cloudy day

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Lynda Draper

Another top shelf Australian ceramicist is Lynda Draper (image above). I pretty much swoon over her work whenever I see it. Lynda won The Premier Acquisitive Award at the 54th International Competition of Contemporary Ceramic Art, Premio Faenza a couple of years ago (and deservedly so). Her work has a certain naivety about it, and I just love all the fingerprints visible in the clay. The forms always remind me of something, but I’m never quite sure what it is – and that’s what I like about them. They’re familiar, yet enigmatic. The images below are of some of her more recent work, which has a certain whimsy and a lovely fantastical quality about it (is fantastical a word?).

Monday, December 3, 2007

Song Books

In the 70s my nana bought an electric organ, a big old thing with wood veneer panelling and lots of big knobs and switches. Probably very cutting edge for its time. My sisters learned to play really well, but as usual I was Little Miss Impatient and could never sit still long enough to learn properly. But I did learn enough that I could accompany them playing Heart and Soul (just), and belt out a fantastic rendition of two fingered chopsticks. But my favourite thing about it was all the little buttons that played the samba and the bossanova and the waltz accompaniments. We used to turn up the tempo and the volume as far as they would go, and go ballistic in her dining room to the fastest and loudest bossa nova beats you ever heard, while bashing random keys and doing liberachi inspired slides along the length of the keyboard! Yes, it was very melodic, soothing and relaxing for the rest of the relatives.

My nana had all these really old yellowed song books filled with the funniest old music, a lot of which would be considered very un P.C. these days, but also a lot of beautiful old classics. I’ve kept these books and have started playing with them in some of the new work I’m making. Most of it is still in the developing stages, but here are just two little bitty experiments (above) I did on some wall tiles.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Craft Research

Craft Research is a really interesting blog by a group of researchers from the Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design, University of Dundee in the UK. It was put together to encourage and develop some discussion around a research project they are undertaking called "Past, Present & Future Craft Practice: exploration of the inter-relation between skill, intent and culture". Its full of interesting musings, ideas and debates on contemporary craft, and has just been updated with a summary by Mike Press of his impressions of the recent Neocraft Conference in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Worth a read. I’m seriously wishing I could have gone (love a good conference i do!), but will have to make do with the book, the podcasts and reports from Carol at Musing About Mud, who attended the conference and chaired a panel on Global Craft. You can check out the program and find out a bit more about the conference here.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Barely There

These 3 little pieces are winging their way down to a beautiful new gallery and retail space on Oxford Street in Sydney called Pablo Fanque. They’re part of an exhibition called WHITE.

A couple of years ago I was lucky enough to be invited to do a residency at the University of Massachussetts. I spent two (very cold) weeks working from a lovely studio space in the Star Store, New Bedford, hanging out with some old friends and making some new ones. While I was there I met Katie Parker, who makes really beautiful work that you can see here. Katie and I were both working with decals and she very very generously gave me the white decals that I ended up using on these pieces. I'd been wanting to play around with some white on white, but sourcing white decals at home had proven very difficult. Having them custom made had proven even more difficult, and outrageously expensive. But thanks to the generosity of that nice girl from Columbus, this little series will be glowing away at Pablo Fanque from December 11 until mid- January 2008.

Other artists included are: Anna Davern (who graced Brisvegas with her presence last week!), Elfrun Lach, Nina Oikawa, Emma Davies, Lisa Cahil, Pennie Jagiello, Melanie Katsalidis, Lucy Folk, Jane Bowring, Alice Whish (isn’t that a lovely name!), Joanna Levinson and more….

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Granny Smith

Driving back from Toowoomba after visiting my nana a few years ago my sisters and I stopped in at one of the bargain fruit shops along the highway near Gatton. One of my sisters pulled this postcard out of the rack, and we all had a bit of a giggle as we scribbled a few words on the back and promptly posted it off to her. She kept it propped up on her kitchen bench for years, and when she died it found a new home on my mum's fridge. Everytime I see it, it still makes me giggle and think of her.

I’m playing around with some new work at the moment called 'short stories' (I think), about this very thing, that narrative aspect of objects, the way they can hold stories and evoke memories. Its an endlessly fascinating subject for me. It’s still in the early stages, and I’m not really sure where it’s going yet, but there are lots of spoons. Spoons and guns. Hmmmm. I’ll keep you posted!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Charles Eames at Artisan

Last night I went to the opening of “The gifted eye of Charles Eames”, a selection of 100 photographs taken by the American designer. His rather charming grandson, Eames Demetrios, gave a fantastic talk about life growing up in the Eames household and some really nice insights into the life and times of both Charles and his wife Ray. Their furniture is to die for, their films quirky, and some of the photographs were breathtaking. Three in particular really took my breath away (predicatably they were all of plates piled in the sink, breakfast settings and cups sitting on tables!) and had me standing mute, dazed and drooling in front of them, a most attractive look I’m sure. Oh but the lighting!! Stunning. So if you are in Brisvegas – GO!!! It’s on at Artisan (craft QLD), but only for two weeks until November 18th so hurry!

You can read about Charles and Ray Eames here (and on a kazillion other sites too).

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The Pottery Liberation Front

Garth Johnson The Pit and the Pendulum 2002

I’ve just spent a large part of my day trawling through Garth Johnson’s farcical and fiery Pottery Liberation Front (PLF) website. If you’re involved in the world of ceramics it will probably give you a good giggle. Although, it could just as easily annoy or offend you! Whether you agree with him or not, its still worth a read! His approach is quite amusing, if not over-the-top! I particularly enjoyed trawling through the project section… take your time here, its worth it! (thanks for the link Laura, and for aiding and abetting a rainy day of procrastination).
And if you enjoy that you'll probably also get a giggle from these two clips - Apparatu (via Design Boom) and Ceramic bowl (via Extreme Craft)

Friday, November 2, 2007

Laugh a minute

I’ve become very clumsy (well, clumsier than usual!) in the studio lately, tripping over my own feet and breaking so many pieces I’m almost scared to go in there for fear of what will come crashing down next!! Yesterday I broke not one, but two of my favourite pieces, pieces I could have sold twenty times over but decided to keep for my own collection. Only the really super special pieces make it into this collection. Yep, major bummer. I sat on the floor feeling sorry for myself when suddenly two kookaburras let rip in my backyard. They laughed and screamed until I just had to see the funny side of it and join in with them. It was impossible to mope with their hysterical laughter ringing through the air! They were beauties!! They spent a good part of the day frollicking in our big poinciana tree, cackling away periodically just in case I started to sook again!

Monday, October 29, 2007

A few new bits

A few new pieces. I’ve been having strong urges to throw for months and just no time to do it. But a few weeks back I just had to sit down at my trusty wheel and get it out of my system! I threw some mugs and bottles. The mugs were a bit of a disaster, and the bottles were a bit of a surprise. Not my usual thing, but I sat them on a window sill near my desk and they’re slowly but surely growing on me. They're thrown from Southern Ice porcelain and inlaid with black slip.

Gwyn Hanssen Pigott at Phillip Bacon

Gwyn Hanssen Pigott's show opened at Phillip Bacon Galleries on Friday night. You can see some of the work on-line here, but if you're in the area I highly recommend heading in there for a look. Some beautiful new blues in the glaze palette, something almost retro about them. I was captivated. And momentarily considered putting myself into deep debt to buy a little set of three. I left before I did anything crazy.

Friday, October 26, 2007

The drought breakers

Curator of Pattern Recognition Andrea Higgins, and myself have decided we are the drought breakers. Invite us down for an artist talk sometime, and I guarantee you it will rain! It seems to happen everytime we head off on one of our Laurel and Hardy expeditions to talk about the exhibition. Last week we headed off to Gosford Regional Gallery - and yes, down it came! Not that I'm complaining. Most places we go really need the rain! The folks at Gosford did a wonderful job with the show, the gallery looked fantastic, and they also did a wonderful job keeping us well fed, well watered and well entertained.

Next day we were up at the crack of dawn and made a beeline for Sydney where we did a mad dash around all the galleries before flying back to sunny Brisvegas in the afternoon. Peter Cooley ceramics at Ray Hughes Gallery, The Bombay Sapphire Design Discovery Award at Object, a quick look at new gallery/retail space Pablo Fanque in Oxford Street (very nice), and finally Prima Vera at the Museum of Contemporary Art especially to have a gander at the lovely Honor Freeman's work (below) and a quick sprint around the Julie Rrapp show. Phew!

Honor Freeman "markers" slipcast porcelain

Honor Freeman 2005 "Tupperware: An airtight container for every occasion" Slipcast Porcelain

You can read a little more about Honor Freeman's recent adventures here.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Breaking the Mould

I’ve just spent a lazy but inspiring saturday afternoon curled up with my brand new book that I’ve been wanting to get my hands on for ages - Breaking the Mould: New approaches to Ceramics. It was worth the wait. It profiles over 60 contemporary ceramic artists, includes essays by Natasha Daintry, Rob Barnard and Clare Twomey, and has a stupendously good web directory in the back of most of the artists included. A damn good resource. Hours of fun. For all the family.

Barnaby Barford "Shit! Now I'm going to be really late" 2006

Some of my old favourites are in there including the very amusing and witty tableaus by Barnaby Barford (above), the evocative and melancholy figures of Irish artist Claire Curneen, Justin Novak’s disturbing and slightly gruesome disfigurines, Clare Twomey’s site-specific installations and Marek Cecula’s porcelain carpet and super great Burned Again series (below)

Marek Cecula, In Dust Real: Burned Again, Industrial Porcelain/Woodfired 2005

And some great work I hadn’t come across before – check these out: Isobel Egan, Damian O’Sullivan, Wai-Lian Scannell/SOOP and Kjell Rylander .

Damian O'Sullivan Delft Eye Patch

Lots of food for thought. I’m lost to ceramic la-la land for the rest of the day I think.

(You can see a great preview of the book here))

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

More Little Uns

Some new Little Un's, fresh out of the kiln!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Bits and Bobs

A few things to check out:

The work of Dutch artist Anton Riejnders (above) which I have just recently re-discovered. And I still like it. A lot.

Melbourne-based ceramicist Vipoo Srivilasa's recent adventures in China for the opening of A Secret History of Blue and White (Vipoo's work pictured below).

And some good things being done by Paul in Ireland.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Curio-ser and Curio-ser

Last week Kamenendo, bum crane and I headed off on one of our little missions to see Julie Shepherd’s solo show out at Redlands Gallery. Julie must be one of the most prolific and patient potters I know. The gallery was brimful of her intricate and delicate pierced pieces, from teeny tiny sculptures through to larger (but no less delicate) forms. It was really quite mind blowing trying to comprehend the amount of work that had gone into the show!

And as if that wasn't enough, I peeked into the other gallery to discover CURIO, one of the most engaging jewellery exhibitions I have seen in a while. It was curated by Kellee Uhr and included the work of Zoe Jay Veness, Anna Varendorff, Bibi Locke, Eleisha Nylund, Emily Bullock, Liana Kabel and Madelaine Brown.

I have a strange relationship with jewellery. I very rarely wear it and yet I am so drawn to it and have a deep appreciation for it. I admire and am fascinated by the ingenious and multi-faceted approaches that jewellers use in their craft, the diversity of materials they use and the clever ways in which they use them. From Liana Kabel’s rubber necklaces (below) displayed very strikingly across a wall, through to Zoe Jay Veness’ incredible intricate paper ‘brooches’ (above left), this show really had it all.
Emily Bullocks Lucky Claw brooches (below), made from the wings of budgies and rosellas, were beautiful, horrifying, amusing and disturbing all at the same time!

I also really enjoyed Madelaine Brown’s Frivolite series (below), rings cast in silver and gold from handmade lace. Love a good bit of tatting I do!!
So all in all a very inspiring mission, topped off with our usual pillaging of the local bakeries and op shops.

Monday, September 24, 2007


This is all that remains of my trusty old underglaze pencil that has served me faithfully for over a year. I use it to sign the base of all my work (except the really super duper translucent pieces, which would crumble into shards if I pressed on them with this clunky old pencil).
A few days ago I decided stubby's days were numbered and it was time to get a new long shiny sexy underglaze pencil. I was so excited at the prospect of being able to sign my name once more without feeling totally uncoordinated - have you ever tried to sign your name with a 2cm long pencil...its a bit trickyI tell ya!

So I had a whole kiln load of work lined up (in nice straight rows of course) ready to be signed. But when I went to sharpen the shiny new model, it had totally disappeared. I turned my house, my studio and my car upside down in search of that damn pencil but to no avail. Talk about annoyed. I swore a lot.

Once again i had to make do with little stubby here. So if you happen to be looking at some of my work and think my signature looks like it was done by a 3 year old, it is more than likely going to have been scrawled very uncoordinately using the pathetic remains of dear old stubby here. The last of a long line.

Of course, after I had signed all the work I found the new one. In a really obvious place.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Fancy Pants

Well I’m feeling like a bit of a fancy pants today after finally seeing the latest edition of Ceramics Art & Perception with 5 glossy pages all about ME!! Susan Ostling did such a wonderful job writing this article and a big big thank you to her for taking the time to do it, and especially for coming to my studio and being polite enough to sit on my dirty dust covered studio couch without even raising an eyebrow! Apart from being a great writer Susan is a curator and lecturer in Fine Arts at Griffith University. She also has the best damn hair in the business!!

This edition of the mag (#69) also has an article written by Diana Hare about our exhibition North/South Discourse at the NCECA Conference last year, which was organised by the supremely super Carole Epp. Geez, double whammy!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Love a good swap I do! Its a really lovely way of collecting work from friends, peers, and on the odd occasion absolute strangers! And the last few weeks have seen a few pearlers come my way! From Melbourne to Canada and beyond! Here's my recent booty.

Ceramic tiles by Canadian ceramicist Jasna Sokolovic (i'd been eyeing these off for some time)

And these beautiful hand embroidered blue birds by the very clever and talented Reb at Purely Decorative


Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Making amidst the mayhem

Well its been a little quiet on the blog/work front lately…visiting family…house reno’s….perfect opportunities for procrastination! But in between all the mayhem I have managed to get some work out for the upcoming Art Sydney 07. Object Gallery will be representing my work there this year in October, which is very nice of them indeed! Among other things, I’ve made a limited edition series of these porcelain wall pieces with small spoon indentations in them (5cm x 12 cm)

I’m in the process of making a whole row of them to run along a wall in my kitchen. I rarely have time to make things for myself, but I’m determined to finish these ones, if it’s the last thing I do!! They’ll all be decorated with recipes written in my mum and my grandmothers handwriting, and I might just have to add my sisters and my own to that collection too. Saves getting out the recipe books!

Whenever I make work, I photograph it a lot - from all different angles, in different groupings, lines, rows, light. I find it gives me an added perspective on the work, which you sometimes miss when you’ve been working on something up close for a while. Sometimes it leads to new ideas, new thoughts on how to present work, new ideas on where to take it next.

And just in case you haven't noticed, I also have a bit of a compulsive need to arrange things in lines and rows and grids…aaaah....something sooooo satisfying about it!

I’ve also made a small edition of these bird wall vases (below). They’re part of a much bigger wall piece that I’m working on, but I just snuck a few out for those nice folk at Object!