Thursday, May 31, 2007

Little Uns

I made these little uns last year. I was inspired after a trip to Korea and thought I’d experiment with a technique called inlay, which I had never done much of. And might not do much of again! Talk about time consuming and finicky! Each little dot was drilled in and then filled with a different coloured clay. It then gets scraped back and sanded before being fired. A glutton for punishment I was (still am?). Each little cup is just 4cm high. I held on to these. There's very few pieces of my work i absolutely refuse to part with. But there was just something about these ones that i really loved. So now they all live on a sunny little window ledge in my sleepout.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Blooming beautiful!

It is the most beautiful day here today! Cool, crisp, clear and so so blue....with just a little splash of red!

Monday, May 28, 2007


Well it's been a while in the coming but I have finally started my ETSY shop. Gosh, I'm feeling so high-tec! And after setting it up I don't care if I never sit in front of a computer again for as long as I live!! I tell ya, it seems so long since I've had a day in the studio, a full, uninterrupted day of's been a good learning curve though, muddling my way through all of this, so I won't complain! I am only selling a few ranges of work through the etsy shop, but feel free to email me if you're interested in any other pieces that aren't up there.

So time to go and clear my head and have a wander in the rain...yes, RAIN!!! I couldn't quite believe it when I heard it hammering down on my roof last night! Yippee!! My garden is so so so so happy! For those of you who aren't aware, we're in the middle of a serious drought here in Brisbane...

You can visit my ETSY shop HERE!

Friday, May 25, 2007

Meet the Makers

“The Gallery formerly known as Craft QLD” is having another Meet the Artists session Friday June 1 from 10:30am till 12pm. Local ceramicist Cathy Keys is going to be speaking about her work, along with jewellers Roz Fenson and Emily Burke, and knitter/quilter/cushion maker/jeweller Leigh Hamilton Park. Worth dropping in if you're around.
(Cathy’s work pictured above)

Shakin in my boots

Yesterday was a big day for me. After I shook off my nasty dream of broken pots, I headed off to GOMA to have a cup of tea and a chat and a wander around the gallery with someone whose work I really admire and who has had a huge influence on me, particularly when I first started out in ceramics. I have wanted to meet her for so long, so it was pretty special to spend the afternoon sipping coffee with Gwyn Hanssen Pigott (image above and below left) chatting about this and that and having a fine old dandy time!

The reason we hooked up is that I’ve been asked by GOMA to give a talk on some work from their collection. Yep, can you hear my knees knocking from wherever you are?? Yikes, nothing like a bit of public speaking to make me wanna go and hurl in the nearest bathroom! But nerves, random muscle spasms and inferiority complexes aside, the gallery is running a great program where artists are invited to choose works from the collection to speak about - a favourite work, how they might have influenced their practice etc - the idea being that people might get a different insight or a new perspective on the works on display or in the collection. So of course, there was never any question as to whose work I would choose. But I’m also going to be talking about another amazing work (conveniently located right next to Gwyn’s) by LIU Xiao Xian (brother of Ah) called The Way We Eat, (image below) a series of 33 incredible porcelain cutlery pieces. Yep, right up my alley!

Gwyn was very gracious and generous to come in and talk to me about the piece I’ve chosen. I'm feeling pretty inspired after that. The talk is on Sunday June 17th at 1:30pm. Up on the second floor of GOMA. And I’m totally cool about it……absolutely relaxed…..can’t wait……only 22 more sleeps…..

Thursday, May 24, 2007

In my dreams

When I woke up this morning a huge wave of relief washed over me as I realised it had only been a dream! More like a nightmare actually. I’ve been working on a public art project for the last 18 months and it’s due to be installed sometime over the next couple of months. The closer the installation gets, the more horrible the dreams I have….smashed pieces, no time to make any more, angry architects….you get the idea! Last night I dreamed that I picked up one of the pieces only to see that it had a big crack down the side. And then, when I went to pick up the others I suddenly realised I had forgotten to fire them and they just crumbled in my hands! My 18 months of work was a pile of shards! It’s been a great project to work on - a huge long learning curve – but I will be very VERY glad when it is finally installed and out of my studio!!

Here’s a (teeny tiny barely visible) little sneak peak of the work (above), which is being permanently installed at the new Southbank Institute of TAFE Library. It’s made up of 15 very fine black and white porcelain vessels. The imagery on them is drawn from/inspired by the history of the site and the surrounding environment. One of my favourite pieces is decorated with an excerpt from an old syllabus from the 1920s. The subject was called “housewifery” and taught students “how to clean a living room, bedroom, bathroom and kitchen”. It also taught them how to remove stains – specifically tea, coffee, fruit, mildew and ink, how to dispose of waste, economy in furnishing (I need that course), starching “D’Oyleys” and most importantly - how to crimp and goffer…..huh??

Sandwich Mountain

The Little People's blog is up and running! Check it out here.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Good Friday

slipcast wall pieces 6cm x 5cm and 6cm x 6cm

A nice start to the day today. Not only did I wake to the sound of pattering rain (it's been so long!), but also to a lovely kiln load of work, full of blue bits! And a few new little people too! But I won't be posting those just yet....we've had so much response to those funny little folk that we've decided to start a blog totally devoted to them and their adventures. They've been getting out and about a lot lately too so lots of new pics. Should be up and running soon.

slipcast porcelain with decals 9cm x 5cm

So being a rainy day I guess I don't have to work huh??! That sounds perfectly reasonable to me! It's been so long since we've had a day like this that I think I will have to honour it by reading novels and drinking cups of tea all day! I have been a very lazy and distracted camper this last week (very unlike me), so I figure I'll just go with it and my concentration and focus will come back soon enough. It's this working from home business you much as I am enjoying it there are so many distractions around every corner! Have a nice weekend!

Oh, and here's a good read: Diana Fayt's recent post over at One Black Bird. Here here I say Diana!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Come on Skip!

A few years ago, when I was doing a little sojourn at the Canberra School of Art, I made a cup for a Canadian friend of mine, a white coffee mug with a little kangaroo bouncing around the bottom of it and the words “come on skip” (a quote from the iconic tv show Skippy) printed next to it. It was a joke really, a kitsch little Australiana souvenir for her, but over the years that little kangaroo just keeps popping up in my work. Recently I’ve been developing this series of porcelain wall pieces (above). You can keep adding pieces, and make him jump longer and higher. Go skip go! And it seems I’m not the only one with a kangaroo preoccupation. I keep stumbling across wonderful kangaroo-inspired work lately. While browsing the Craft Victoria website a few months ago I found this very stylish interpretation of the kangaroo by Melbourne jeweller Anna Davern. Florence Forrest (below right) has also been making some lovely creatures based on the kangaroo (see more of them here). And Pru Morrison (below left) whipped up a few nice kanga pieces recently for her show at Ray Hughes Gallery . A kanga here and a kanga there.

So I’m thinking skip's got a message for me.....
What’s that skip?

There is just something about the iconic, nostalgic, kitsch Australian-ness of the kangaroo that I love. Now if you (Australians?) want a little trip down memory lane check this out…

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The Infinity Room

Ever wondered what it would be like to stand amongst the stars? Well I’ve just discovered a little room where you can at least get a taste of what it might be like. I’ve mentioned the Asia Pacific Triennial a number of times, and it’s drawing to a close soon, so I went back recently to have a final look and discovered I had missed this little gem of an artwork by Yayoi Kusama called Soul Under the Moon (2002). From the outside it looks like a tiny nondescript room with a door. You open the door and walk in to this dark, quiet, never ending reflection of fluorescent balls and mirrors and water – an infinity room! If you happen to get a few minutes to yourself in there (lots of patience required for this, and don’t even bother on a weekend) it is like you are standing amongst the stars – so dark, so quiet, so disorienting, so amazing! A photo just can’t do it justice so you’ll just have to trust me on this one.

Anish Kapoor’s sculptures are fun too. The ambiguity of them, of the spaces within them (or not). It’s more fun looking at the people looking at the work trying to work out what it is they are actually looking at (or not)!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Paul Wood

Paul Wood is a Melbourne based artist who makes wonderful sculptures of found objects. I first met Paul and saw his work at the 3rd World Ceramic Biennale in South Korea a few years ago. I loved his piece Maeshi kromb and mash where after having dinner with his family he picked up the dishrack filled with all the washed up dinner dishes, saucepans and cutlery etc and popped it in the kiln lock stock and barrel and fired it until everything melted and slumped and warped. His exhibition Domestic Slump (above) at Craft Victoria in 2005 was a group of precarious towers of similarly slumped domestic objects, and his latest show (image below) has just opened at the La Trobe University Visual Arts Centre , and looks like a cracker! Someone has been busy raiding the bathroom section of op shops! You can read a bit more about the work here. It's on until May 28. Wish I could go....i like Victoria....and it must be so lovely and chilly there right now....

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Tagged again

Righty ho then, I've been a little tardy in my response to my tagging by Florence at Windbag and Thunder - but being the first day of the week (I know its Tuesday but twas a public holiday here yesterday) I'm going through all the things I didn't get around to last week and crossing them off my list before I start on this week's things. Yes, very organised of me. So, seven random facts it is then...

1. I was born in Papua New Guinea and spent the first 2 years of my life in Port Moresby.

2. If I wasn't a ceramic artist I would like to be a carpenter or woodworker and design and make furniture. I still just might.

3. One of my favourite songs ever is Going Up the Country by Canned Heat. I can't help it but that song just makes me smile and involuntarily bounce up and down.

4. I’m a morning person. Which can sometimes be very annoying for those who aren’t......

5. I prefer winter over summer (at least in the part of the world where I live)

6. I recently joined a gym for the first time in my life (except for a surreal and fleeting period when I lived in Japan, but I won't count that). For the last week I have barely been able to walk or raise my arms above my shoulders without wincing. Apparently its good for me.

7. Like Florence, I too am a fan of vegemite on toast. I may not eat it every single morning like she does, but guaranteed the second I set foot out of Australia all I want is vegemite on toast. I don't travel without it. It's a comfort thing. Mmmmm...I'm gonna eat it for breakfast this morning......

(I just found a great You Tube clip here of Canned Heat performing Going Up The Country live at Woodstock. Its not the greatest sound, but the clip is hilarious! Lots of naked hippies. Be warned.)

Thursday, May 3, 2007

4th World Ceramic Biennale

The 4th World Ceramic Biennale opened in South Korea this week. I had some work from my Precious Little series (left) selected for it. All these pieces are really really tiny, between 2-4cm tall, and were an absolute and utter nightmare to make!

The Korean Biennale is a bit of a must-see for ceramic lovers. It’s like Disneyland for ceramicists! Apart from the amazing museums and mind-blowing exhibitions (truly some of the best ceramics I have ever seen in my whole life anywhere ever) there are also workshops, juicy conferences with speakers from all over the world, local ceramic markets, rock bands, glamorous women jumping out of life-sized ceramic jars, blindfolded potters throwing pots on the wheel in front of amazed crowds and all kinds of weird, wild and wonderful things going on! I spent 10 days at the 3rd Biennale and wish I was there again for this one! I came home with a suitcase full of beautiful ceramics, all wrapped up in lovely Korean textiles (which I had to buy to wrap the ceramics in my suitcase to stop them from breaking you see)! While there was a lot of fun and games there was also a serious side to it as well - lots of debate and discussion about the state of the ceramic arts, a really big focus on education and engaging the public in the medium, and an awful lot of quality contemporary international and Korean ceramics. It rocked my world! Unfortunately I didn’t take out the US$50,000 prize money. Yeah, a bit of a bummer that. There goes my early retirement plan….(and yes, that is me above pretending to be a Korean potter - how could I resist having a go at that!!!)