I haven’t posted anything on the blog for ages and ages – mostly because of the business I began two years ago with my partner …. yes we have just had our 2nd birthday! The business is called ClayMotion, and we run art and craft classes and sell art supplies. I teach pottery, mosaics, acrylic pouring, drawing, and eco dyeing, so as you can imagine it is pretty hectic.
I do, however, want to try to dedicate some time to revitalising this blog for my own artwork and hope to post at least once a week …. so I will begin with Eco Dyeing.
I live on 10 acres in Ballarat, Victoria, Australia and have lots of trees and flowers on the property, and always have some sort of gorgeous foliage at my fingertips …. so I decided to try some eco dyeing, something I had been reading alot about, and watching YouTube videos, for quite some time – it was on the gunna list.
So, I have completed a few experiments now with some gorgeous results, and have a few videos up on my You Tube channel – something else I am going to be trying to pay more attention to moving forward!
A video is below the following photo gallery of the most recent workshop I have taught. You can also see more videos on the Eco Dyeing Playlist I have created which I will continue adding videos to as I do more experiments – well play, actually!
Scroll down, watch and enjoy – and I will see you next week 🙂
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
If you have following my blog over the past few days you will know that I am participating in a challenge on Facebook where potters are asked to post three pot pictures for five days and also nominate another to do the same each day. Today is the final day – and I am also sharing these pictures with my wordpress readers – that’s you 🙂
I have been taking a nostalgic approach to this challenge and have been sharing pictures that reflect my development over the years… from my early self taught days through to my Honours Year and PhD at Uni. This journey, I think, shows the development of my work over the years, but also illustrates the basis of my major influence – the natural environment. These posts show a movement from functional ceramic wares through to abstract sculptural ceramics while still capturing nature and all she has to offer, and in later work, what is in danger of being lost.
Todays images are a selection of pictures from the years following my PhD – their theme is still about conserving the environment, but I have begun to introduce found objects – from natural things such as sticks and feathers through to industrial objects such as barbed wire and nuts and bolts. Juxtaposed against clay – the skin of the Earth – I believe strengthens the underlying premise of the artworks, making them more powerful and more confronting to view.
It was a bit difficult to limit this gradual development with only three images, so on this final day I thought I would ‘cheat’ and have posted five pics.
You can check out my original post on my Facebook page, and even follow me if you like what you see 🙂
Until Sunday’s Studio Visit….
So, you probably already know by now that I am participating in a challenge on Facebook where potters are asked to post three pot pictures for five days and also nominate another to do the same each day – and I am also sharing these pictures with my wordpress readers – that’s you 🙂
I have been taking a nostalgic approach to this challenge and have been sharing pictures that reflect my development over the years… from my early self taught days through to my Honours Year at Uni. This journey, I think, shows the development of my work over the years, but also illustrates the basis of my major influence – the natural environment. These posts show a movement from functional ceramic wares through to abstract sculptural ceramics while still capturing nature and all she has to offer, and in later work, what is in danger of being lost.
Today’s images feature my PhD works– 2005-9. The title of my PhD was Sacred Space in Contemporary Society: the Artist as Sharman, and can be downloaded and read HERE. This thesis was a natural progression from my Honours thesis which questioned the role of ceramics in the 21st Century. My PhD thesis asserted that sculptural ceramics installed in the natural environment – an installation – could act as a conduit reconnecting humanity to the Earth – an act that is required if we are to stop using & exploiting the environment. The research was framed within a feminist framework, exploring the patriarchy that has allowed the unstemmed growth of capitalism and exploitation. In this context the artwork was developed to sit within the landscape, not overpower and dominate, as does much modern patriarchal sculpture.
You can check out my original post on my Facebook page, and even follow me if you like what you see 🙂
Until my final post tomorrow….
I have been thinking about how I can be more regular with my postings on this blog instead of being a bit random, and have decided to start a themed weekly post, and if I do other posts in between all the better.
The theme I have decided on is a visit to my studio and they will be on Sunday afternoons. The posts will be about what is (or is not) happening in my studio on any given Sunday. So without further ado…..
Welcome to my studio…..
I am currently working on a sculpture which is as yet untitled. Made from handbuilt porcelain and barbed wire, the sculpture is a development evolving from my recent Human Gridlock exhibition. In that exhibition I had some ceramic spheres snuggled into barbed wire nests.
I particularly like the inherent tension between the purity and fineness of porcelain and the harshness of barbed wire, so I thought I would experiment with developing this idea further.
The sculpture is almost finished…. I just need to do a final wrap around of barbed wire to give the entire structure more strength and think up a title…
I hope to then enter the sculpture in an upcoming competition… but that can wait for another post 🙂
Birds Beasts & Blossoms called for entries that responded to the title – birds, beasts an blossoms – whether real or imaginary…. and the entries certainly addressed the theme robustly!
The group exhibition included approximately sixteen visual artists who’s artworks ranged from realist watercolor to underwater macro photography to sculpture to abstract media works – the range of interpretation was fantastic!
My interpretation translated into some handmade paper pieces with flower inclusions with mixed media additions such as feathers and embroidery. ideally I would have liked my works to be framed to highlight their true potential – but, what artist can afford framing!!?? Yikes…. I try to rely on the art buyers imagination – good idea?? who knows!!
The exhibition finished last weekend – but I have been so busy I haven’t had a chance to post it on the blog till now. If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter or Google plus you would have heard about it – but my blog was neglected :-((
However, without further ado here are some pics of the opening which was jam packed and wonderful!!
It was a chilly day for the launch of my solo exhibition, Human Gridlock, at Mt Blowhard, on the outskirts of Ballarat…. but thanks to those that braved the conditions, rugged up, and enjoyed some wine and cheese with myself and other art die-hards!!
The exhibition is being held in the Ballarat City Council Public Art Space ContainArt – a council initiative featuring both local and non local artists in a converted container which tours the surrounds of the Central Highlands district in Victoria – a mobile gallery delivering art to people who may not usually have access to it – either because they don’t frequent formal galleries or due to where they live, IE rural areas.
This is a great concept because it brings art TO the people, rather than people having to go TO the art!
The concept gallery was launched back in March with a group show, and has been touring solo shows since, with great success.
My exhibition remains in Blowhard until the 13th August and then tours to Napoleans until 26th September.
The exhibition features hand built ceramic spheres and mixed media collages representing memories and associated attachments which can shape our everyday lives – following is the Artist Statement which accompanies the exhibition:
“Human Gridlock explores the complex relationship between humans and their immediate surroundings, including the natural landscape, domestic environments and the manufactured backgrounds of our lives. Our understandings of these environments are often defined by memories which subliminally shape our dreams and aspirations.
By juxtaposing shapes, surfaces and textures visual associations are triggered in the viewer – past and present – prompting a reassessment of the many and layered connections to the often fleeting, yet momentarily important, events that shape our earthly existence. The vast array of fragmented memories conjured by this visual composition offers an alternative narrative to the everyday, challenging the viewer to reconsider their priorities of ‘being’ in our modern transient world.”
Following are some images of the opening and the show – all artworks are for sale, and if you like what you see click on individual images for prices. If you would like to enquire further (including custom sculpture requirements) send me a message – easy!
If you are in or around the Ballarat or Melbourne area this weekend be adventurous & rug up to join me for the opening of my solo exhibition – Human Gridlock – this Saturday afternoon 26th July between 2-4pm. The exhibition is being held in ContainArt, and begins in Blowhard running till Mid August when it will then travel to Napoleons.
The exhibition features ceramic and mixed media installations, which are still being constructed as we speak!! Talk about cutting it fine…
Check out the invite or join the Facebook event page here: https://www.facebook.com/events/716721225032020/
The Facebook event page also features sneak peeks of works in progress for the exhibition and other updates.
For more information about the ContainArt project check out an earlier blog post I published about the launch of the project 🙂
Meanwhile here is the Artist Statement for the exhibition followed by some ‘work in progress’ pics – hope to see you there 🙂
As regular blog visitors may know I recently curated a ceramic show which is currently being exhibited at Backspace Gallery in Ballarat, Victoria, Australia.
This is the second exhibition I have curated in my arts career – the first also being a ceramic exhibition, which was pre-blog days (I don’t even have a Facebook album for it – so I may have to do some searching and publish a post), and I must say I do enjoy the process: so much so I may pursue involving myself more in curating artists into exhibitions in the future.
Developing a theme, and then asking artists to address this theme is interesting and inspirational – responses are wide ranging in technique and intellectual philosophy. I find that this, in turn, informs and inspires my own art practice. So it is a win win!!
The Earthen Centre showcases the diverse range of ceramic works produced by artists living within central Victoria who draw their inspiration from the fact that they live and breathe in a regional environment. Although wide ranging in technique and style, the common thread binding all of the work together is the natural landscape and the ability of the featured artists to use clay – the skin of the earth – to communicate their perceptions and understandings of their surroundings.
There was a great turn out for the opening – unfortunately I forgot my camera (very unusual of me) so I only have images of the works in situ, not of the actual opening 😦
This is the (somewhat nervous and therefore short) speech I gave at the exhibition opening – followed by some pics of the exhibition:
Thankyou everyone for coming
I would like to begin with acknowledging the Wathurrong people, elders past and present, upon whose land we are now standing.
This exhibition aims to showcase ceramics artists from the Central Highlands region who use clay to respond to their semi-rural environment. These responses are varied including the environmental messages of Kate Vivian, the everyday narratives of Desiree Radi Mansbridge, the natural tones and textures of the landscape reflected in Judy Dewil, Petrus Spronk and Ri Van Veen’s works, and of course the personal stories of Deanne Gilson.
Clay is the ideal medium to express these wide ranging interpretations as it is highly plastic, malleable, and of course, is itself of the Earth.
It is hoped the stillness of this exhibition provides a point of quiet meditation and focus upon each piece so that the message being communicated by each artist can be heard.
I would like to thank all the artists for participating in the exhibition, so please enjoy another glass of wine, and remember all of the works are for sale, and there are no commission on sales – so all moneys go to the artists.
The exhibition is open Thursday – Sunday from 10am -4pm
And here are some pics…. ENJOY
The latest public art initiative to emerge from Ballarat City Council is ContainArt, a mobile gallery that will house changing exhibitions and tour around Ballarat and the surrounds bringing art to people who may not usually have access to it – either because they don’t frequent formal galleries or due to where they live, IE rural areas.
This is a great idea because it brings art TO the people, rather than people having to go TO the art! This was proven correct this afternoon as, while taking the photos for this post, I witnessed many people stopping, looking, walking around the container, pointing and talking to whomever they were with.
I was lucky enough to be selected as an exhibiting artist in ContainArt’s inaugural show, and yesterday was install day. There are also five other artists exhibiting, including my (new) hubby Strobe – he took the photo of his art piece while we were on our three day honeymoon – the mini-moon!.
The gallery itself is an old shipping container fitted out on the inside with display boxes that face outward and solar electricity for lighting. The display boxes are quite large providing artists with lots of scope to exhibit multiple pieces or just one large piece – which is what I did!
My artwork is a mixed media piece using found objects, both organic and manufactured, and ceramic shards. Entitled Scattered Urban Memories, it is the largest work I have ever made (approx 1 x 2 metres), and therefore was challenging yet satisfying.
I spend lots of time collecting things from heavy clunky railway studs through to light delicate feathers – and both of these objects found their way into the work along with many others.
While making the work during the past week I did post a couple of sneak peeks on Facebook and Twitter– following me on these networks is a great way to stay updated on the daily going ons of my art making, sometimes crazy, world.
The other artworks in the show include painting, ceramic sculpture, foam sculpture, recycled works and photography – this mix of materials and perspectives combine to produce an interesting and fun show.
The show is currently at Lake Wendouree until the 18th March, then will move to MADE (Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka) where the official launch of ContainArt will take place on the 21st March. The exhibition will remain at MADE until the 3rd April… and then it will be a new round of artists at a set of destinations!
It was difficult taking photos of the exhibit due to reflection factors, however I’m sure you get the gist. So, without further ado… here is a slideshow of images from the exhibition… enjoy 🙂
All Images © Dawn Whitehand