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Sunday Studio Visit – Bonfires and Jewellery Design

Evening all, it is freezing here tonight with possible snow expected, so I am keeping warm by reminiscing on the bonfire firing I did a couple of weeks ago.

Every year around this time we do a clean up for the summer to reduce fire hazards during the bushfire season, and in the lead up to that I make beads and pendants which I pack into an old milo or coffee tin with sawdust, seaweed, cow dung – pretty much anything I would put into a pit firing. The tin is snuggled in amongst the branches and leaves and set alight. The tin is usually ready to pull from the ashes the following afternoon – depending on how big the bonfire was!

I have published previous posts about bonfire firing which you can read HERE.

So tonight I am experimenting with some jewellery designs with the beads that emerged from the bonfire. I have already listed one pair of earrings in my ETSY shop from this firing and there will more to come, and some necklaces.

My other exciting news is that I have had an article published in the latest edition of The Journal of Australian Ceramics. This latest edition was focused on fire, so I wrote an article about pit firing. Visit their website to find out more about getting a copy of the journal.

Dawn Whitehand Pit firing article

And now for some pics from the bonfire and finished jewellery pieces – thanks for stopping by and see you next time 🙂

I’ve been published!

I have been writing poetry on an off since I was a teenager, but began to write regularly again a couple of years ago after a long break – kids, etc…you know the drill!

When i began writing again I added a twist to my poems though by also creating an accompanying drawing, and I made a new blog to publish these new creations on.

During that first year I wrote a poem and created a drawing everyday; I also participated in National Poetry Writing Month and made it to the top five favourite wordpress poetry blogs for the month!

After that first year I dropped back to writing about once a week, which was less manic and more manageable, as I also do lots of other ‘art’ stuff as well, as regular readers will know.

Now to the point of the article – on the last day of 2014 I made my new years resolution, and it was to get a poem published, and I am happy to say it has happened!

A new ezine Felan put a call out for drawings and poetry for their first publication and the theme of love… now I am a bit of a dark character and fluffy love isn’t something I write about, but dark love is! So I entered three poems and drawings for consideration. I was lucky enough  to have one poem and all three of my drawings selected for the first edition!

The ezine is absolutely beautiful to look at and the poetry is incredible. Copies are available for electronic download or a hard copy can also be purchased HERE.

pen on handmade paper

pen on handmade paper

As part of the promotion process contributors were also interviewed. All the interviews give an insight into the writers and their inspirations and processes and are great reading. You can read my interview HERE.

I am really proud to have been selected for this first edition and happy that I achieved my New Years Resolution – and I do hope to have more publications soon, so stay tuned 🙂


Pit Firing Ceramics – The Book Launch At Last!

Book Launch and Exhibition in Ballarat

So, the long awaited day finally came – and went!!

Saturday was a bit of a dreary drizzly day, not unexpected in Ballarat, yet a great crowd managed to rug up, brave the cold, sip wine and talk ‘arty’ stuff in support of my book launch and exhibition – thankyou 🙂

The launch began at 2pm in the Annexe of the Art Gallery of Ballarat, where signed copies of the book was for sale and  a slideshow of book contributors played in the background. Also in the background, my partner Strobe Driver plucked dulcet guitar tunes and the lovely Belinda Coates, Greens member for Ballarat, officially launched the book with a fantastic speech.

Of course, having an opening speaker, I (foolishly) thought that would get me out of saying anything – but no, thanks to Strobe I was hauled (not physically) before the microphone to say a ‘few’ words. After stumbling through a few ‘thankyou’ remarks I opened it up to questions, which worked much better than speeches (for me anyway). The questions were great, ranging from ‘how did I go about getting a publishing contract’ through to ‘how to get involved in ceramics’ ie – how to learn. Of course, at that point I flogged my own classes and workshops …lol!!

Then it was down to Backspace at 3pm to view the exhibition in the Exquisite Objects Project space with a bit more wine and some nibbles.

It was a fantastic afternoon with some great feedback on both the book and the works in the exhibition, which featured contributors to the book, both national and international.

The day was topped off with a few friends joining us afterward at Mitchell Harris Wines for a celebratory bubbles.

The exhibition runs through till the 27th July, so if you are in, near or passing through Ballarat drop into Backspace Gallery (behind the Art Gallery of Ballarat) and have a look. All works are for sale will all monies going directly to the artists (no gallery commission).

Backspace Gallery times are Thursday – Sunday 10am – 4pm.

And now for pics 🙂




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This work by Dawn Whitehand is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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