As readers may know from previous POSTS I have been working on a new body of work, including sculptural ceramics and photography, which is now on exhibition at ContainArt till February 16th. The container is currently on location at Weerama Part, Wendouree.
The exhibition was inspired by the Scotsburn Bushfires, which I have also posted about before – both the experience on the day and Bushfire Relief Arts Program I was involved with in the following months.
I have friends who live in Scotsburn (and almost lost their home and business) and I know of others who did lose their homes. On the day of the fires I stood on my property watching the smoke and water bombers flying over, so it was very dramatic.
Approximately a week after the fires, which destroyed 4000 hectares, 12 homes and 23 sheds, I visited the site and drove through the area extensively following the path of the fire. I took many pictures and have a comprehensive documentary of the immediate aftermath with the intention of developing a body of work to reflect the fires and comment on the climate (political and environmental) which has contributed to the severe bushfires Australia is experiencing on a more regular basis.
The opportunity serendipitously arose to hold an exhibition in ContainArt just a little after the twelve month anniversary of the event, providing a great chance to commemorate the fires.
All of the works are, of course, for sale, simply send me a message to begin the discussion 🙂
Following is the ‘Artist Statement’ for the exhibition and some images…
Artist Statement – Dawn Whitehand – After the Fire
As a person I feel deeply saddened about the natural environment and the harmful effect the human race has inflicted upon Mother Earth.
As an artist I feel a duty to bring these issues to the attention of the general public via a visual interpretation of the climate dilemmas currently perplexing our global society.
A little over a year ago the effects of global warming were brought into stark reality when the town of Scotsburn and surrounds, on the outskirts of Ballarat, experienced fires that raged out of control on the 19th December 2015. The fire, once started was fuelled by dry conditions, extreme heat and high winds, which combined to form the perfect storm of environmental conditions.
At the time I witnessed the billowing smoke from my property, and having close friends in the area I was watching and worried. Thankfully my friends remained safe, as was their property. Others were not so fortunate.
A week later I undertook an extensive tour throughout the entire route of the fire, documenting the physical effect of the tragic event on the environment. During the following months I worked with the local community conducting art workshops as part of the Scotsburn Bushfire Relief Project.
This current body of work presents a series of documentary photographs and interpretive ceramic sculptures which respond to the colours, shapes and textures of the event, that also hopefully, evoke an emotive outcome within the viewer that raises questions about their personal and communal responsiveness toward the environment, and their role within the wider global context.
A little after a year later I revisited Scotsburn and the abundance of regrowth is majestic – Mother Nature healing both the local community and her natural environment.
By presenting a display commemorating the Scotsburn fires in the context of “urban Ballarat” I am hoping to make this seemingly physically remote event more immediate & real.
Overall images of ContainArt:
Images of individual windows:
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 🙂
Evening all – I hope everyone had a great Christmas & New Year 🙂
I have mostly recovered from my stretch if illness which made it difficult for me to keep up to date on the blog posts, so hopefully I will be a bit more regular this year!
Today I have been making new sculpture for an exhibition I am having in ContainArt which I am installing on the 11th January – YES, it is going to be a rush!! With having being ill and then indulging in Christmas festivities I couldn’t get to making any earlier.
I’m hoping to pit fire some of the pieces and it is fire restrictions time in Australia so I have to apply for a permit – hopefully that comes through OK.
The exhibition will consist of ceramic sculpture and photography – but no more information…. all will be revealed after the installation 🙂
But here’s a sneak peek at today’s making fun…. have a great week everyone 🙂
Today’s Sunday studio visit is a visit outside the studio – I spent the day running clay workshops as part of the Scotsburn Fire Recovery Art project.
Scotsburn is a beautiful picturesque rural community on the outskirts of Ballarat in regional Australia.
The bushfire happened in December 2015, and burnt through 4,000 hectares, taking livestock, shedding, homes and precious memories.
I remember the day vividly . I live in Dunnstown – a stones throw away as the crow flys – and have friends living in the area, so we were very concerned and attentive to the situation on the day. In fact we watched the huge D10 waterbomber zigzag across the sky approaching the area to douse the flames. It was very scary and in the following days I visited the area and documented the scene in an artist capacity. I have not, as yet, developed these images in any way out of sensitivity to a community that is, and will be for quite some time, hurting on many levels.
It is in response to this hurt that an arts recovery program has been developed to engage with the local community – art being an important vehicle toward expression and healing. There are a variety of activities being offered to the community in a series of workshops – clay (that’s me), felting, drawing and jewellery making – which will culminate in an exhibition at the end of the year.
And today was the first session! And I had some some happy cheesy smiley people playing with clay!
The day was divided into a morning and afternoon session with a BBQ lunch in between – complete with vegetarian BBQ! lucky for me 🙂
Lots of fab work was made during the day, and I can’t wait for the future sessions and the exhibition in November!
And here are some pics from the day – enjoy!
Last Sunday I posted about the studio renovations that have been happening for about a month now. Basically the renos are finished, apart from a few finishing touches – some of which were addressed this Sunday.
In chilly Ballarat “Winter in Coming” so I’ve had to have a temporary curtain up between the original studio and the extension because the new extension has big windows which draw out all the heat… not good for my cosy fireplace!
But yesterday I picked up some recycled curtains my mum altered for me to fit the windows. They are the old fashioned kind – heavy and lined, so great for insulation, and also so RETRO!
And better yet I am topping off the curtain rods with equally retro fittings.
The other thing that needs to be done is removing more from the ceiling and adding tin around the flue of the new kiln, so I haven’t fired it as yet – but I will be firing by this week!
Once all of the above is finished (tomorrow!) the inside of the studio is complete! YAY! Then the next project is to dress up the outside of the studio, such as applying some mosaics to the verandah poles of the studio entrance!
I will soon be ready to do a video walk through of the complete studio, and when I do you guys will be the first to know 🙂
Today’s studio visit is an update on studio renovations/extensions of which I posted earlier HERE.
As regular readers may know I extended my studio over the last school holidays due to growing class sizes. The extension will be a storage area and a glaze room. In this process my kiln had to be disconnected due to gas bottles needing to be relocated. The reconnection process has taken a little longer than expected, and therefore became a little stressful, due to custom orders from my ETSY shop and class student work building up. However, the delay has perhaps been a little serendipitous. It gave me time to think about needing another kiln, which I did!
I decided I needed a new bigger kiln or another average sized kiln to service my growing business and I thought I should try to purchase one asap so that both kilns could get connected at the same time. I was lucky enough to find one really quickly – and a bargain – by posting a Wanted to Buy in some local Buy Swap & Sell Groups on Facebook. I received a reply quite quickly – a port o kiln which was about thirty years old, but that had never been connected or used…. just sitting in someone’s shed – in new condition!! (rubs hands together).
So my kilns are both getting reconnected tomorrow morning, and then I am going to be firing both kilns back to back to catch up on the past five weeks!!! I am going to be busy. And then I’ll get into doing some making myself!!
The renovation has basically added two open space areas on the side of the existing studio. these spaces have become a glazing room and storage area. The other part of the renovation I love is the new ‘library’ area – perfect for sitting with a cuppa and browsing books or developing ideas in my visual diary. This corner in the existing studio was the old glaze area, but with everything being moved into the new room I could create this cozy space, something I have always wanted to do.
Creating the library cleared a space in a cabinet (where I used to store books) and this has now become a display cabinet for tools and equipment for sale – yes I also sell ceramic supplies and post Australia wide. the postage is included in the prices which are in the online shop on the CLAYMOTION website.
There is still a bit of re-organising and tidying up to do, but here are some pics this far 🙂
Its been a few weeks since I did a Sunday Studio visit post – I have been so busy, and one of the reasons for this I have written about HERE (and this is still ongoing!) and I will write a post soon about the other major project soon!!
Today, however I took time out of the busy schedule to visit the Lorne Sculpture Biennale. It is a great show which I have had work in during previous years, and this year had a sculpture in the Wye River Project – an exhibition of small sculpture organised in support of the Wye River and surrounding community devastated by the Christmas Day bushfires.
I vividly remember the ‘breaking news’ stories on Christmas Day, which was hot on the trail of the Scotsburn fires nearer my home which I have written briefly about HERE. Lorne is also special to me as I half grew up near the area (Torquay); ran a business which serviced the area for several years; and have participated in the Lorne sculpture show previously.
So it was great to be able to participate in the Wye River project to support the community – with this sculpture, which I posted about during the ‘work in progress’ phase HERE.
Wye River is a small community, so, as expected, does not have a gallery space, so sculptures were exhibited at the General Store and the Wye Beach Hotel – here is a pic in situ with lots of wine/beer rings on the plinth – I like to think this means it got looked at alot!
But back to the Biennale… I, of course, had my favourites, some of which I have posed on Instagram, and remarkedly my fav aligned with the judges and the peoples choice awards – not very often that happens! Unfortunately (and stupidly) I didn’t bring my wide angle lens, so just have a couple of pics (but will be posting more soon). The winning artist is Jennifer Crompton for Sea Country Spirits, an amazing installation of organic and sea inspired forms made from an array of materials – wire through to feathers and shells – all suspended from trees so that the viewer could walk within the created environment accentuated by the natural movement stirred by the breeze which created a surreal and almost apocalyptic feel – if there had been no people strolling around!!
Visually delicate and mostly white in colour, the forms suggested the fragility of the Great Barrier Reef coral and the current bleaching of it which is such a hot topic at the moment in Australia. I’m not sure if this was Crompton’s intent as artist statements were not displayed with the works, but this is how it spoke to me – more about that in a future blog post.
Surprisingly my most favourite sculpture was not actually part of the exhibition! And I almost got cut off from the mainland during photographing it due to the tide coming in!!
A beautiful rock sculpture, reminiscent of Andy Goldsworthy created on the gorgeous rockscape of Lorne, this sculptor has been in every Biennale show – but not by invitation!! He gatecrashes and installs his sculpture amongst the selected artworks – which I think is fantastic! It begs the question about what are art exhibitions, who gets in, what they mean, and to whom? More about this in my upcoming post also.
So, for now to finish of this quasi studio visit I’ll leave you with my favs from the exhibition …. enjoy, though I will be posting a more in depth review in the coming week, so stay tuned 🙂
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
There’s not alot going on at this time of year in the studio, apart from recovering from Christmas & the New Year, however, regular readers may remember that a few weeks ago I posted about a custom order grotesque mug I made – the customer had broken their mug and wanted me to make a replacement.
The original post image showed the original mug (Left) and the freshly made duplicate (right).
Since then the mug has been glazed and fired, and i must say i am very pleased with it…. while it may not be my ‘style’ it has certainly captured the essence of the original mug, probably because I enjoyed the process of sculpting it so much. It has been quite a few year since I did any figurative sculpting and it did bring back an enjoyment I am interested in re-exploring.
And an added bonus – the original blog post, mentioned earlier, was featured on Pottery Making Infos December Clay Blog Review under Process & Techniques along with lots of other great articles, and is well worth a visit.
Well, that’s it for this Sunday – see you during the week 🙂
As an attempt to be more regular with my blog (famous last words) I am going to post the occasional “saturday shelfie” – that is, what I am working on currently in the studio (and a play on selfie).
Today I am putting the finishing touches on a custom order – a grotesque mug. The commissionee had a slipcast mug which he had for many years and dropped it…. the mug had sentimental value to him and he wanted another one and found me via Facebook!
This mug is not slip cast but hand sculpted, and I must say i did enjoy the process. It has been a long time since I sculpted a piece of work in such detail. I used to make dragons many years ago, so it was interesting to recall the feelings and skills of the past.
Maybe I’ll explore creating some more sculpture in the near future….
Have a great Saturday everyone 🙂