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Pit Firing Community Project – The Creative Legacy of Edna Walling.

Last week I facilitated a pit firing workshop for a community project which is part of a group exhibition commemorating the work of Landscape designer Edna Walling. One of the exhibiting artists Heather Hesterman is creating an installation consisting of ceramic pinch pots en masse and plants referencing Walling’s love of constructing gardens. The pots have been made by Hesterman’s friends, acquaintances and members of the community, both adults and children, coming together to make approximately 300 palm sized pots.

During Hesterman’s research for the project she discovered an anecdote found in Walling’s writings, indicating Walling’s joy of witnessing a friend hand-build a small pot from clay, fire it and then fill it with the local native plant species, Thomasia petalocalyx.  This event together with ‘The Chalet’, which Walling had built along the Great Ocean Road, being burnt down, along with 2 other residences, inspired Hesterman’s methodology in developing the installation.

Part of that methodology involved the firing of the clay pots made during the project – enter a pit firing! As regular readers may know usually when I pit fire I add lots of varying organic ingredients and wrap the pots in seaweed, gum leaves, copper wire and the like. This endows the finished pots with a vibrant dappled colour response. Hesterman, however, wanted the smoky greys and blacks of fire to be captured on the pot surfaces, so the pit was fired using only sawdust. The sawdust creates a higher likelihood of a reduction atmosphere in the pit allowing for carbonisation of the clay surface.

The firing was successful overall with results ranging from soft smoky greys through to strong oil slick blacks.

Lisa Byrne, Director of ArtSpace at Realm, Maroondah City Council, is curating a group exhibition The Creative Legacy of Edna Walling. The exhibition commemorates the work of Landscape designer Edna Walling with artists Heather Hesterman, Rebecca Mayo and landscape designer/construction Sam Cox.

The exhibition will be held at the gallery ArtSpace at Realm, Ringwood Town Square, 179 Maroondah Highway, Ringwood. 03 92984553, 19 Sept – 13 Nov 2017, with the official opening on Saturday 21 October 2-4pm.

More information can be round on the website artsinmaroondah.com.au

And now enjoy the pics of the sawdust firing process 🙂

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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 🙂

Sunday Studio Visit – exploring new jewellery making techniques

Readers may know I have been a bit absent from this blog lately, as per my last BLOG POST, so I haven’t offered a Sunday studio visit for a while.

Readers may also know that I love sustainability, recycling and upcycling, as illustrated by lots of past jewellery POSTS, and of course the PRESERVING frenzy I go into during the growing season! So with the recent giant iceberg break away from the ice shelf in Antarctica, and all the other crazy occurrences in the world at the moment, my mind has been drawn toward new ways of using synthetic products our society has created and can’t be recycled – such as CDs which are now largely obsolete!

I don’t know about you but I have hundreds of CDs…. from kids games, to movies to data storage, and I have never thrown them out because i just couldn’t bring myself to adding to the city dump!!

So, after a bit of research and refinement I have made a few jewellery pieces using cut up CDs with the addition – in some – of acrylic paints.

I will be making more of these pendants soon as I have heaps of CDs and enjoy the process, so the next time I do some making I will take some process shots for a tutorial.

In the meantime I have actually listed my first piece in my ETSY shop! Happy weekend and see you next time 🙂

DeeDeeDeesigns white handmade necklace

Come See What I Have Been Up To In The Studio!

It has been a while since I published anything – sorry about the absence, but things have been a bit hectic!!

Ceramics wise I have been busy with custom orders in my ETSY shop and also for a local restaurant.

Dawn Whitehand Handmade Ceramics

Fresh from the Kiln

I have also been experimenting with some new jewellery making techniques – which I will post about in the near future – and I have also been building up my new jewellery and craft supplies shop on ETSY

But for the purposes of this post I will stick to ceramics and i will let the pictures tell the story!

See you soon 🙂

Sunday Studio Visit – Mothers day

Today is Mothers Day and my mum, sister and son are visiting – so I am not doing anything in the studio today. My other sister is away on holidays in Western Australia, and my other son in the midst of travelling around Australia in a caravan! So it the three of us – plus hubby!

So I will share with you what I would’ve done today, but did yesterday instead, because I knew I couldn’t do it today – wow, how complicated!

You may remember from my last post that I threw lots of bowls, earrings holders, yarn bowls and oil burners a few days ago. So today (yesterday) I turned and carved everything ready for drying, bisque firing and then glazing. I am quite happy with how everything turned out – and even experimented with a prototype for a light/lamp shade.

One of the freshly turned yarn bowls is already SOLD after sharing the image below on my INSTAGRAM account – so get in fast!!

Here is a gallery of the finished freshly turned pieces…. looking forward to seeing how they turn out after gazing!

 

 

The End of the Pumpkin Season

Well, we have certainly had a great season in the vegetable garden with lots of zucchinis, tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, apples – the list goes on! We have also had a fab season for pumpkins and this afternoon we picked them all as we are having an early frost tonight which may kill the vines, but could also freeze the pumpkins so that when opening – say in three months time – they will be slop… not even OK to make soup with potentially.

(PS – I plan to do a painting of these pumpkins – aren’t they gorgeous!)

So not only did we (hubby & I ) pick the pumpkins I then went into the studio to make some platters, plates, coasters, rings and pendants impressed with pumpkin leaves. This idea has been popular in my ETSY shop so I thought I should make more while I still had the leaves available!

And this is an idea of the finished product 🙂

I hope to make more leaf imprinted plates and jewellery using whatever may be in season at the time – so stay tuned 🙂

Happy Earth Day 2017 🌏🌲🌱

Today, April 22nd is Earth Day – are you doing anything special? Planting a tree, turning your lights, tv and computer off for a few hours?

I am not planning on doing anything special per se – my television never goes on until about 9pm at night for the news anyway! … and I do, on a daily basis, try to live sustainably, so will do more of that today with a little more mindfulness during the day.

I find it important to recycle and reuse as much as possible, especially in the current political state of climate change scepticism.

I also consider it important because as a ceramic artist I do use alot of gas, water and electricity. My clay and glaze ingredients have a large carbon footprint also, in terms of miles travelled and mining.

I try as much as possible to offset this footprint by growing as much food as possible, composting waste, not using chemicals when cleaning, being a vegetarian, and of cause recycling as much as possible.

Here in Dunnstown,, where I live, we are approaching the end of the Summer/Autumn growing season and I have been doing lots of preserving, bottling and preserving – I will be doing more of that today. I still have lots of apples left which I will be using to make more apple chutney and apple paste (which is great with strong blue cheeses). I have made bottled apples in the past, which were great, so I might make more of them too. I have also recently delved into raw apple cider vinegar!

As followers of my ETSY shop may know – and if not you will now – as well as making ceramic homewares and jewellery, I also make a range of jewellery made from upcycled materials such as guitar strings, plastic bottles, buttons and beads. Love jewellery, or know someone who does? Today, being Earth Day is the ideal day to purchase an upcycled gift for yourself or a friend…. and remember Mothers Day is coming up on May 14th.


Happy Earth Day and Happy Sustainable Living and Shopping 🙂

New Jewellery Designs

I have been a bit preoccupied lately with all the preserving and fermenting from the summer/autumn garden so have not been doing a great deal of making… but recently I had a custom order from my ETSY shop for twelve ceramic buttons so took the opportunity to also make some extra buttons and some pendants at the same time.

The buttons turned out beautifully. The customer wanted them to add a unique and jazzed up element to a denim jacket which she wants to take on holiday with her at the end of April! I love these kinds of stories that accompany custom orders and hope she will be happy with them! I think she will…

The pendants, which I will list as necklaces and earrings in my ETSY shop, are just in time for Mothers Day – May 14th. I have assembled some of them and will be listing them over the coming week. If your mum/sister/girlfriend/wife/aunt/nana/partner or female friends anywhere love both handmade and jewellery these are the perfect gifts!

Keep an eye on the ETSY shop over the next week or check out my INSTAGRAM FACEBOOK or TWITTER feeds 🙂

See you soon!

 

Sunday Studio Visit – an Etsy Weekend!

Today’s Sunday Studio visit is focusing on my Etsy shop.

I have a great array of handcrafted gifts in my shop which make great alternative Easter gifts! You can also place a custom order for both tableware or jewellery pieces.

Speaking of custom orders, tomorrow I will be posting a yarn bowl which was custom ordered for the colours the customer preferred. I think it turned out great. The yarn bowl is a gift for the customer’s mums birthday, and I think she will like it!

Readers may remember from previous posts some plates I made impressed with pumpkin leaves from my garden … well these are now live on ETSY. I have listed a dinnerware set which is available as a single setting, or other custom quantities, four place settings for example. Coming soon will be plate size sets – four side plates, for example.

Pumpkin leaves are only available in my garden from November to April (approximately), so at other times of the year the plates will be available with other seasonal leaf imprints.

I also have other pumpkin leaf imprint items in my shop, such as these:

And on Friday I sent this pumpkin leaf plate off to a new home in Melbourne – a mere 100km from where I live!

And speaking of pumpkin leaves and garden produce I have been busy again this week preserving gods from the garden!! Today it was fermented cucumbers, bottled tomatoes and apple paste, which I can’t wait to taste with blue cheese!!

Well, that’s it for today – I will hope to catch up mid week 🙂

 

Happy St Patricks Day :-)

Happy St Patricks Day – and what better way to celebrate than with a 10% discount in both of my ETSY shops for the remainder of March!

Use coupon code StPats2017 in either shop for some great green finds or anything else for that matter!

In case you don’t know I have SHOP that sells handcrafted ceramic tableware and jewellery, and a SHOP that sells craft and jewellery supplies – so go wild!!

Here’s a little teaser:

and from my supplies shop

Happy St Patricks Day and happy savings!!

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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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