As some of you may have noticed I haven’t posted on this blog for months!! This is because I opened a shop in Central Ballarat where I am teaching pottery classes amongst other things.
Regular readers may know that I taught for years from my home studio which had been renovated and even extended…. but I kept outgrowing it. So in October I moved the whole shebang to the shop/studio and have been flat out ever since. The shop’s window display features locally made giftware, there is an exhibition space, art and pottery supplies, casual studio space hire, kiln service, and classes by myself and other guest artists…. you can check everything out on the ClayMotion website.
Even my weekends have been taken up lately with preserving all the goodies from our garden.
But this weekend I decided to get back into a bit of art. One of the guest artists this month is running some acrylic pouring workshops at the studio, and being inspired, I decided to have a bit of fun at home. So I watched a few YouTube vids and plunged in!
I used coconut milk as my additive to achieve cells on all of last nights paintings, and I am going to use nail polish remover in the next batch, which I am hoping to tackle tonight. I didn’t pour my canvases over a try, but instead lay grease proof paper over newspaper. This is so that when the excess that poured off the canvases dry I can peel them off as acrylic skins. I then want to cut them into shapes and mount them in glass dome cabochons to make jewellery. So stay tuned for that blog post 🙂
Below I will explain my process for each painting … so read on!
This was the first painting I did, I applied the paint by layering the colours in a funnel allowing for more control of application, however I didn’t pour enough paint for it to be fluid enough. The paint was also a bit too thick, and perhaps I didn’t add enough coconut milk. So I had to spread the paint manually which blended the colours together a bit too much and no cells developed. So I decided to try a technique I saw on YouTube called the String Pull Technique, and I think it worked out quite well. After pouring the canvas a piece of string is coated with paint laid on the wet canvas in a shape – for me it was a squiggle – and then pulled off the canvas in a downward motion. I did it with white first, then black and then two with glitter gold. I then pulled a craft stick through some of the wet paint to create different effects. Here’s a vid of what I did (its quite big so keep scrolling down for more info):
The second painting I quite like and I created it using a dirty pour. This is when you layer the paints in a cup and then turn the cup onto the canvas and leave it to run to the bottom of the cup. Although I thinned the paint down a little it still wasn’t quite enough and I think I still needed a little more coconut milk. Although there are a few nice cells and quite a few really small ones I do like the colours and the way the overall composition turned out.
Here’s a vid of the dirty pour (again it is big, so keep scrolling):
The next painting had much better cell development. I thinned the paint down much more and added more coconut milk. Again it was created with a dirty pour.
And the final painting had even better cell development – not quite enough, but better. It was also created using a dirty pour. I do like the middle swirls too. It looks a bit galaxy like.
I enjoyed the process and liked how it is very similar to slip marbling and feathering on pottery. This has set my mind racing to try the string pull on a plate!
And now I am off to do some more playing!
April is National Poetry Writing Month and I have been participating over on my Poetry blog where I publish a poem and a drawing inspired by the poem.
My poetry blog has been going for a few years now, but I haven’t published much this year, until this month – so hopefully participating in this daily challenge will get me back into a more regular routine!
Following is a sample of some of the drawings I have been publishing – but you’ll have to visit my blog to read some poetry!
Happy reading 🙂
Hope everyone is having a great week 🙂
It has been very warm over the past few weeks, so it was great that the day I chose to do the firing was only a 26C day… but, of course, we still needed a beer by the end of it (or maybe before the end of it!)
I have since installed the exhibition, but am a bit behind in my posts because – yes – I am still sick!! It comes and goes in waves and is driving me crazy!!
Anyways…. here are some pics of the pit firing, and the next post will be pics of the installed exhibition…. so stay tuned 🙂
Its been a while since I posted – I have been sick in varying degrees (coming good, then not) for a few months now. I started with insomnia a few months ago which left me run down. I then came down with a virus which I couldn’t shift and which developed from there to a severe chest infection and virus induced asthma! I have never had asthma, so it has been weird! Due to ll of this I have been doing the bare minimum of what I need to do, and now that I am starting to feel better (I think) I am in catch up mode.
I haven’t even posted a Christmas pressie reminder for my ETSY shop – so here is one now 🙂
As for today’s Sunday studio visit – I wasn’t in the studio today. Being a couple of weeks from Christmas we had a family Christmas lunch with a side from my partners family, which was lovely and relaxing. The weather was beautiful, which is only just starting to happen in Ballarat – so it was perfectly timed!
The hosts live a big warehouse which they are slowly converting in a gorgeous home, and there were some fantastic views from the outdoor deck of the surrounds, which included some great geometric architectural juxtapositions which I couldn’t resist capturing on my phone.
So, I thought these shots would be a great re-introduction to my – hopefully – more regular blogging life 🙂
What a busy Sunday this has been!
This morning I worked with the community from Scotsburn and surrounds as part of the ongoing bushfire relief project – of which you can see previous posts HERE. And then this afternoon I ran a workshop for the Ballarat branch of Yellow Ladybugs – a group that connects girl with autism – its been a great day!!
The Scotsburn group continue to create some fab ceramics – with a concentration on Christmas decorations this session. The bushfire occurred a week before Christmas in 2015, so there were lots of positive messages inscribed onto the decorations.
And there were also some creative additions – all to be exhibited in the end of the year exhibition to coincide with the anniversary picnic in December.
In the afternoon the Ladybug girls produced some amazing treasure boxes – they so enjoyed it, and so did I !!!
As readers may know I am somewhat a specialist in pit firing, having explored it extensively during my PhD and then writing a book about it which you can find on lots of online book stores such as AMAZON.
Lately I have been yearning to explore more methods of alternative firing. The idea arose when my pugmill decided to die leaving me with lots of clay I haven’t had time to manually reclaim. So I thought I would make an outdoor clay kiln – this is still in the planning stage, and I hope to get it up and running (so that it is ‘fired’) before fire restrictions come in this year.
In the meantime I decided to use some of this excess clay – mainly from buckets under the potters wheels which has a high water content – and experiment with a TeePee firing. I did the firing a couple of weeks ago, but hadn’t had time to post it till now – it seems to be very busy at the moment!
I am lucky enough to live on a 10 acre property with lots of trees, and it has been a windy year so there are lots of blown down branches scattered around. I began by constructing my TeePee using these branches and then lining it with fence palings which I reclaimed from a neighbour a few months ago. Before lining the TeePee though, I constructed a tripod with smaller branches within the TeePee which included seeweed, cow dung, salt and some copper sulphate and nestled my pots into it.
I had previously made a series of pinch pots which were were prepared using string and copper wire wound around the pots to hold on seaweed, gumleaves and cow dung.
After lining the TeePee with fence palings I dipped newspaper – in two or three layers for strength – into clay slip, which I had made by using my glaze drill to mix the clay in the potters wheel slag buckets. I then lined the TeePee with this paper making sure I left I left two holes for lighting the fire and a few draft holes to feed the fire. I also left a hole in the top of the TeePee for drawing.
The firing was really fun to do and visually splendid and I was very happy with the result for a first effort and intend to experiment with this technique more.
And here are the finished pots cleaned and polished 🙂
Pot One – when the paper slip fires it creates an almost low fire sculpture, so I rescued some shards the following morning and experimented 🙂
Pot Two – love these colours!
Pot Three – great copper wire markings here!
Pot Four – love the subtlety ….
Its that time of the week again – Sunday studio Visit and there is not much happening in the studio today…. it has been too cold to work, but I have big plans for tomorrow because the studio will be warm from the firing I have been doing today!
So, I thought I would share some pics of my fun last night – Winterlude in Ballarat.
Winterlude in an annual winter festival with lots of different happenings throughout the city for the month of July: ice skating, a craft beer event, winter at Sovereign Hill and more. And it the “more” that I had fun with last night.
A part of the Winterlude event is lightshows and live music courtesy of the City of Ballarat – and it is fantabulous!
Here are some of the great pics from last nights light shows …. it was a real treat – as was the music 🙂
April is National Poetry Month where poets from around the world write a poem a day and post it somewhere on social media – Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, Instagram, Tumbler, the choices are endless (although one could participate as a personal challenge and not share on social media, of course). The idea behind social media, though, is to network and connect, and also read some of the great work of others working in this literary space.
As regular readers may know I also have a Poetry & Drawing blog. It began as a poem and drawing a day blog, and after one year of posting I scaled it back to posting weekly. But in April I try to write daily for the National Poetry Month.
So far I have been successful in posting daily (despite extending my studio, which will be the subject of this weeks Sunday Studio Visit, so stay tuned)!
My poems are always accompanied by an original drawing by me inspired by the poem. The drawings range from abstract art to realism to digital art. I will leave you with a small gallery of drawings, and to read the poems that accompany them check out my Poetry Blog 🙂
Today in the studio I am creating a new sculpture. It’s been a while since I created new sculpture – not sure why, it seems so many other things get in the way!
So why am I creating a new sculpture – some motivation, I guess!! Recently I was invited to create a work for a micro exhibition for the Lorne Sculpture Biennale in response to the bushfires that occurred on Christmas Day in the Wye River area. The brief was positivity and regeneration.
I was really pleased to be asked, as only a month before I had experienced a large scale bushfire near my home where some close friends had been affected, but thankfully had kept their house and business, though unfortunately many other homes were lost! And three years ago the mount I live at the base of had been on fire. So, in a way, making a sculpture for the Wye River bushfire also allowed me to communicate the emotions I had felt in response to the other two fires.
So with these thoughts in my head as a starting point I started out in the studio with a pre conceived concept, but – of course – ended up with something completely different.
Now, this above thought is not be taken lightly, and I am intending to write a post about this in the future Why was I able to change my concept/design on the run? I believe the arts cultivates dynamic thinking which can drive innovation and be flexible upon need…. this is why STEM needs to be STEAM in our education system (*see below).
But back to my sculpture… I am not going to post a completed picture of the work, that will come at the opening or after, however, I will post some progress pics from the studio today …. cheers 🙂
*STEM = Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics
*STEAM = Science, Technology, Engineering, ARTS, Mathematics
Recently I have been lucky enough to collaborate with a January art challenge involving makers from the sea glass community. I was invited by Meg from MadebyMeg to participate in this exciting project, in its inaugural year.
The brief – to create art pieces inspired by a poem I wrote.
The brief for the poem from Meg was that it not be obviously related to sea glass or waves or oceans, but a bit more abstract. The poem was to be uplifting and not obvious, though it could refer to nature in general.
So I set about writing the poem…. it was good writing to a brief, something I have not had much experience in, mostly I write for myself about my own feelings and experiences (as do most writers I suspect).
Whilst working within the parameters of the brief readers familiar with my poetry may notice some familiarities of course, this is only natural based on writing style.
And so here is the poem entitled Rebirth
the sun no longer wept
its tears cleansing the land
rivulets cascading gurgled
filling thirsty creekbeds
cracked furrows created over time
now bubbled sparkly bright
green sprouts battling dead earth
win and burst forth soft fronds
greeting the chirp of eager wings
flapping and remembering enthusiasm
while the long shadows of dusk
wait intrepidly for a new day
To check out the responses to the poem – which are definitely worth a visit – visit Meg’s WEBSITE. The responses were wide and varied from jewellery to two dimensional pieces, all using my poem and sea glass as inspiration, and were of such a high quality and exhibited a wide scope of creativity.
I must admit I had some favourites, and all were jewellery pieces so I may have been a bit biased – but then its all about personal taste, I guess.
I’ll leave you with a snippet of the works – over forty works were submitted, so be sure to visit the website to see all the amazing creations.