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 🙂
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.
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 🙂
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!
See you soon!
Merry Christmas everyone and thanks for visiting my blog throughout the year even though I have been scattered in my posts and in visiting others due to ill health. My New Years Resolution is good health and, therefore by default, more regular posting and visiting!!
AND be sure to visit my ETSY tomorrow for a Boxing Day Sale – use ‘boxingday2016’ for 20% off storewide … avoid the chaos of shopping malls and shop online! 🎁🎁
Have a great Christmas and New Year everyone and see you in 2017 🎉
I said in my last post I was going to start posting more frequently after ill health – but getting so far behind in my teaching and firing schedule and other business stuff – plus a bit of a health relapse – meant it just hasn’t happened. So I am going to call it quits for 2016 and make my New Years Resolution to have GOOD HEALTH!! I have never experienced six months of ill health before and it has done my head in!! So here’s to 2017.
I will leave you with a couple of pics of works in my ETSY store though because I am having a boxing day sale – perfect: no need to visit the chaos of the malls, just buy online!! At the checkout use ‘boxingday2016’ and receive 20% off your entire purchase – what better way to end the year?
Have a great Christmas and New Year everyone and see you – hopefully – more regularly in 2017 🎄🎉☺
Many years ago I had a studio/gallery separate to where I live and at this studio I had a huge brick kiln, unfortunately I don’t have any pics of the kiln, though I do of the studio.
After a few life changes at the time I decided to downsize and relocate the studio to the garage at my home, which I did over the Christmas break of 2003-4, and have been slowly renovating ever since, the most recent being in the past few months and which I have posted about HERE.
Over the past decade the studio has gone from tin garage to insulated, walled and painted studio, to studio with new entry and french doors, to the most recent extension.
As part of the expansion I also acquired a ‘new’second hand kiln, which I have also posted about HERE.
Now back to the huge brick kiln…. and today’s studio visit. When I relocated I pulled the kiln apart and brought all of the bricks and kiln shelves and props with me. The props I have been using ever since, but the kiln shelves were too long for the smaller kiln I also had at the time, and still have. As the kiln was large it had lots of kiln shelves.
All of these kiln shelves are finally coming in handy for two reasons…. 1/ after many years of firing my smaller kiln to stoneware temperature the shelves have become warped. So today I (or should I say hubby) cut down some shelves to fit the kiln…. and 2/ bonus that the old shelves are the perfect fit for my new/old pert-o-kiln, well almost. They are fraction short on width, but perfect on length. And I have enough shelved for both with more left over!
The other great leftover from the old studio/gallery was sandwich boards, a couple of which I still use now, but I did have a spare one….and amazingly they fitted precisely under the tables in the new glaze room so that I was able to convert them into mini trolleys with caster wheels to put glaze buckets on for storage under the tables. So now it is easy to pull the buckets in and out for simple access to the glazes.
And the best part is that I am still recycling … even the castors were reclaimed from a couple of storage units I rescued from a dump site and am now using in the new renovation!
Once all this outdoor work was finished I retired indoors into what I call the ‘jewellery room’ – basically a room inside the house I converted to a ‘clean’ studio when my kids moved out, much to their chagrin! I am really behind with product photography for my ETSY shop due to the studio renovations and really want to upload some new listings over the coming weeks – that means good photos!
Apart from that I fired the kiln – the old one. I haven’t fired the new (old) kiln yet as I only cut the kiln shelves today. So tomorrow a new batch of kiln wash will be made and away I go!
I hope you have enjoyed visiting the studio …. talk soon 🙂
I am LOVING my newly renovated studio!! I just want to work in here the time!! It is so welcoming & cozy and warm….
So today I unloaded and reloaded the kiln and turned it on! (still have to make a kiln god for the new kiln)
Then I prepared clay for throwing on the wheel – I have a custom order to make from my MADEIT shop – ant proof pet bowls, which were made specifically for the customer’s small cats, therefore they are shallow. This design would also be great for little dogs and maybe rabbits and other small pets. The order was for four bowls, so I made six to be on the safe side…. if they all turn out well the extra two may end up in my ETSY shop!
While throwing in this style I decided to experiment with a new design…. chip n dip anyone, or maybe cheese and crackers?
Next I experimented with rings to get a firmer grip on shrinkage. I have alot of custom ring requests, so I figured it was time to work out my shrinkage rates so that I don’t have to make surplus rings to chance the right size! This method usually produces the right size and the surplus can always be listed in my ETSY shop, but I thought I would like to have more of a “formula” in place. By now it was edging toward “wine time” LOL
Can’t wait to get back into the studio tomorrow – which will involve teaching and glaze making 🙂
See you then!
Regular readers will know one of my ceramic sculptures was recently accepted into the biennial Manningham Victorian Ceramic Art Award, an award that has become a fixture on the ceramic awards calendar in recent years, The award is open to all Victorian artists, and spans functional ceramics through to sculptural and conceptual works, as long as the main medium used is clay.
The exhibition opening was held on Wednesday evening at the Mannigham Art Gallery in Doncaster, so now I can reveal my sculpture and give you a bit of information about the conceptual underpinnings of the piece.
So what is this artwork actually about?
I’m glad you asked…here’s my Artist Statement:
Much of the artwork I create addresses environmental issues, sustainability and the need for humanity to reconnect to the Earth and realise their symbiotic relationship with the landscape.
Landscape 1 is the first in a series of sculptural artworks that capture this ethic in both the making process and the finished form.
The sculpture was press moulded in two halves using the polystyrene end packaging of a radiator heater. Polystyrene is especially bad for the environment in its manufacturing process and in that it doesn’t break down and so remains a permanent waste product.
With some creative thinking, however, this material can be used to model artworks or can be turned into artworks itself.
The surface of Landscape 1 is achieved through pit firing, a method of firing ceramics in the ground using organic materials to achieve the mottled coloured surface. When pit firing I only use materials which are found on the ground – old branches, sticks, pine cones, cow dung and leaves.
Given the fragile state of the future environment this method of firing is also a sustainable way of finishing sculptural and decorative ceramics
The exhibition runs until the 29th August and there are some fantastic ceramic artworks to see, and buy, from over fifty Victorian artists, emerging through to established. So if you are in or near the area it is definitely worth a visit.
Below are some images from opening night….enjoy 🙂
Today i didn’t get anything done in the studio!
Being Sunday I had a sleep in, then had friends visit spontaneously this afternoon, which was very nice. They visited for a couple of hours, and then it was tidy the house time in preparation for my son and his girlfriend visiting. It was my son’s birthday, we were having dinner, and my son’s favourite – my partners famous apple pie.
However, today I was featured on the Australian Wandarrah blog, which I have reblogged below.
Australian Wandarrah is an Australian and New Zealand team on ETSY. The team is a great resource for sharing, networking and supporting fellow makers. Their blog is relatively new and they write frequent features of member shops. And…. I am going to begin writing articles for this blog soon – so that will be fun!
So, check out the blog post and find out more about me! And check out some of the other team member shops while you are there 🙂
Today I was not actually in the studio, I was participating in the Golden Plains Arts Trail, purely by chance.
I was in a group exhibition a few years ago for the Arts Trail, but this year decided not to join in, but then a friend who was opening her studio for the weekend event had a last minute commitment elsewhere on the Sunday so needed someone to babysit – and that was me! So I took along some sculpture to display in her garden.
This friend is Julie Collins, who, in collaboration with her husband, makes fantastic large scale sculptures which you can see on their website.
The Arts Trail is an annual event held in the Golden Plains Shire in Central Victoria which showcases local artists who participate by opening their studios to the public or by staging solo or group exhibitions at various venues throughout the shire. Members of the public obtain a map of all the locations from places such as tourist information centres or galleries, and visit artists over a weekend…. it is a great success and many people specifically come to the region especially for the event.
The sculptures I displayed for the day are all ceramic and are wheelthrown and manipulated while still soft to form organic shapes. The pieces are finished in textured glazes that highlight the natural forms….. here are some pictures 🙂 Have a great day!