This is a bit of a late post - I went to Darwin in March but since I've been busy/sick with project baby I haven't had the chance to write this.
Going to the Museum and Art Gallery of The Northern Territory (MAGNT) was a nice artistic experience for me, a respite from the hot weather outside.
One of the most prominent feature of the MAGNT was the Cyclone Tracy Gallery, dedicated to the people of Darwin who experienced the cyclone on Christmas Eve 1974. There are two parts to the Gallery, one featuring the arts/artefacts associated with the cyclone, and a second section exploring the architectural history of Darwin before and after the cyclone. There is also a sound room where visitors can hear the recording of the cyclone. It was so eerie to listen to the recording and I could just imagine the fear and chaos at that time.
Going through the MAGNT, I of course kept an eye out for ceramic works. I was very pleased to see some works by indigenous artists. I love the colours on these works.
There was also an exhibition of Rob Brown at MAGNT when I visited. He had some very cheeky works! There was a whole series called Cooking with Noah where he portrayed animals with different body parts. The one pictured below on the right look innocent enough from afar until you take a closer look.
I had never visited Darwin before so I really had no expectations of what it was going to be like. One thing I was not prepared for was how hot it was. It was so hot that taking photos in the outdoors resulted in this kind of blurry quality (or maybe my camera's just not good enough?).
A couple weeks ago, my husband and I went on a short break to the South Coast. On the way, we stopped at Milton for lunch and stumbled upon a little pottery gallery run by the Nulladolla Pottery Group.
What a find!
I spoke to the very friendly and welcoming Chris Shinton, President of the Nulladolla Pottery Group. Chris explained that there are about 30-35 members, with 20 of them being the core members. They hold weekly meetings/classes on site, including demonstrations by guest potters.
At the back of the gallery, communal tables and the usual ceramic tools are set out for use. They have electric kilns that are placed outside in a separate location.
The site used to be a TAFE facility. When TAFE closed their doors, the local potters benefited by taking over the site, including almost all of the facilities.
While I was there, there was a member working on her piece and she kindly allowed me to take a photo.
What really caught my eyes are these raku pieces. Chris explained that they are horse hair raku pottery. I love the final result.
The gallery itself isn't very big, but it is filled with lots of beautiful pottery made by the members. There is a nice variety of wares for sale, and they are very affordable.
Visitors are very welcome to the Group and I would highly recommend if you are looking for nice handmade pottery. If you wish to visit or find out more information, their details are:
Milton, NSW 2538
Ph: (02) 44541518
Someone asked me the other day if I will ever just do ceramics, full time.
My short answer was no.
Why? Well, aside from the financial aspect of it (we have a mortgage), I would not want to work ceramics full time because I need the external stimulation of not working in ceramics. I quite enjoy using both the creative and non-creative sides of my brain, and knowing that my time doing ceramics is limited means that I am much more appreciative and less likely to procrastinate.
I am essentially quite a lazy person. I can, and do, spend hours in bed doing nothing and only getting up for food. I once spent 3 days in bed reading the whole collection of Twilight books.
But when I'm productive, I'm totally ON. With my ceramics activities, they are not just about making things. I consider reading on ceramic techniques, watching videos, writing blogs and going out to see the works of other ceramicists as part of my ceramics working time.
Of course there have been times when I wish I was doing ceramics full time, especially when deadlines are looming! But my job has enabled me to progress so much in my ceramics, even if it's taken longer. I don't regret the long journey as that means I have been able to set myself up thoughfully.
But hey... I keep an open mind, so let's check back in a few years and see what my answer will be then.
By the way, I am sooo excited about the upcoming Australian Ceramics Triennale - Stepping Up - to be held in Canberra from 9-11 July 2015. More information on their website: www.australianceramicstriennale.com.au
I've booked my leave from work, got an early bird registration (hurry, it's still on offer) and booked my accommodation too. All set and ready. I know it's still a while to July, but gauging from how things have been for the past 3 weeks since I returned to work, I think time will fly.
After about two weeks working in the studio, I realised that I needed a new table. The old one was bent in the middle (probably the result of slapping heavy clay on it for so many years). So off I went with the husband to Ikea on a weeknight to look for a table. Luckily we managed to get one straight away without having to shop around. My new table is called Bekant Desk and I got one in white because it is easier to hide the clay marks.
So along with the new table I started working on a new piece of work. Can I just say that making new work is freaking scary?! I mean, all the doubts, all the self-questioning... does it look good? Am I doing it right? Does it even look like what I want it to look like...
At work, most of my work is project based: research/business analysis, planning/proposal/budget, kick off, development, testing, retesting, launch, post-launch support etc. And I think I was trying so hard to apply that to my ceramics at the beginning, and when it didn't work out as planned, I grew frustrated.
One of the things I think I had forgotten about ceramics is that I need to be really patient about it. There's no point rushing things when the clay is still too wet and soft, cause then it will just stick everywhere. And also I can't leave things to dry for too long, cause then it will just crack.
So here's my latest work... it's quite small, and it's inspired by the Australian native flower Rock Thryptomene.
I am pleased to say that the project to establish a home studio is now complete.
When we were house hunting 2 years ago, I always had the studio in mind when viewing and assessing potential homes. It is very important for me that my working room is still inside the house but not in a basement or anything like that. It needs to be easily accessible, with lots of sunlight.
Lucky for us, we managed to find a house that fits my requirements for a studio. One of the bedrooms on the ground floor is now my studio room. I've fitted shelves along one of the walls, and placed my working table next to a window. I even have enough space to fit in a throwing wheel working area in one of the corners.
I also now have a kiln at home. My kiln is a Woodrow Hobby kiln, the Large size (it comes in 5 different sizes). The reason I chose this type of kiln is because it is meant to be plug and play. It comes with all the necessary elements (shelves, props, bungs) and also a very detailed manual book (I read the manual like as if I was studying for an exam LOL).
I have to say though that Woodrow was very good with packing the kiln for the delivery and making sure that the instructions are clear for novices like me.
The kiln was delivered a few weeks ago, but since my house is on a slope and the shed is at the very back of the house, I had to wait until I could get help with moving the kiln - 100kg was just too heavy for me to manage! The kiln is now ready for its inaugural firing (can I just say that I'm a bit anxious about doing this myself, for the very first time in my life?).
I purchased the wheel and kiln from Keane Ceramics. They were very helpful from the very beginning with all my purchases, and I would highly recommend them!
Now I just need to make things so I can start using the kiln! :)
PS: Whilst unpacking all of my stuff from the move, I uncovered this old work.
Irine is a recipient of the Australia Council for the Arts' Artstart Grant (June 2014-2015).
This website has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts
funding and advisory body.