Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Embodied time in another place.

Opens this weekend at Cudgegong Gallery in NSW.

Time and Place: Australian Studio Ceramics 2010
10 Dec to 31 Jan 2011
Cudgegong Gallery
102 Herbert St
Gulgong NSW

The show is curated by Vicki Grima, editor of the Journal of Australian Ceramics and the list of exhibiting artists is company I am not sure I deserve to keep...

Artists: Ros Auld, Tania Rollond,Yuri Wiedenhofer, Karen Millar, Mollie Bosworth, Avital Sheffer, Pam Sinnott, Stephanie James-Manttan, Sophie Milne, Aleida Pullar, John Mawhinney, Brenton Saxby, Andrew Widdis.

Saturday, December 4, 2010


My visual influence is in a state of constant change at the moment. Over the past years it has been a steady state of dry open forest with dead undergrowth and dry dusty soil.
For the last 15  months it has steadily been one of re growth. And since the beginning of Winter and especially now it has been one of deluge. A cloud burst delivering 10 - 20ml of water is not unusual. Weather that for the last 10+ years has been sunny days followed by hot sunny days has now become cloudy days followed by days of rain and threat of flood.
My local forest at the end of the Street has been a wonderland of colour this Winter. It started Winter with flooding rain and new streams of water cutting through the dead ground. Following this came meadows of colour, every couple of weeks saw new plants and flowers popping up on mass. every expedition saw me amazed at what was happening and often I just had to stand back in awe.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Vorto bowl/plate/platter/vessel.

378mm base 107mm high

Sometimes I get tired of making a particular vessel. And they can get left on the shelf for ever.
This large vessel was the last of a range I called "Vorto" derived from vortex. This was the largest one I made, and it may well be the reason I ran out of interest. It takes so much energy to make, not to mention the amount of porcelain it consumes. It stayed bisqued but unglazed on my studio shelf for nearly two years. Then last week I suddenly noticed it and though, I should finish that one.
So here it is. And sitting pretty on my ever growing collection of bricks.

About the bricks.
I make these bricks and use them to fill empty spaces in the kiln. I'm becoming obsessive about making sure I have a tightly packed kiln. I should make some longer ones. Maybe one day I'll have enough to build a bigger studio.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Slowing down for Summer holidays.

100mm high x 185mm wide

As the warm weather finally arrives, I feel a changing in mood towards holidays and Christmas. I'm looking forward to gardening and the making of bowls at an "all the time in the word" pace.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Tea and biscuits.

Must admit the biscuits (made from fireclay) are a little dry.

This tea bowl has a rolled rim (inspired by Simon Leach).
The circles are from where I've held it when dipping it in glaze, and Just under the roll of the rim I've brushed on a slip.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Studio, window view.

One Tree Hill Regional Park, Bendigo
This is the view at the moment from the studio. Some of the Pigface flowers are so vibrant, they seem to shimmer.

Saturday, October 9, 2010


Our God is great, and money is his prophet! We devastate nature in order to make sacrificed to him. We boast that we have conquered matter and forget that it is matter that has enslaved us. What atrocities do not perpetrate in the name of culture and refinement!

Tell me, gentle flowers, teardrops of the stars, standing in the garden, nodding your heads to the bees as they sing of the dews and sunbeams, are you aware of the fearful doom that awaits you? Dream on, sway and frolic while you may in the gentle breezes of summer. To–morrow a ruthless hand will close around your throats. You will be wrenched, torn asunder limb by limb, and borne away from your quiet homes. The wretch, she may be passing fair. She may say how lovely you are while her fingers are still moist with your blood. Tell me, will this be kindness? It may be your fate to be imprisoned in the hair of one whom you know to be heartless or to be thrust into the buttonhole of one who would not dare to look you in the face were you a man. It may even be your lot to be confined in some narrow vessel with only stagnant water to quench the maddening thirst that warns of ebbing life.

Flowers, if you were in the land of the Mikado, you might some time meet the dread personage armed with scissors and a tiny saw. He would call himself a master of flowers. He would claim the rights of a doctor and you would instinctively hate him, for you know the doctor always seeks to prolong the troubles of his victims. He would cut, bend, and twist you into those impossible positions which he thinks it proper that you should assume. He would contort your muscles and dislocate your bones like any osteopath. He would burn you with red–hot coals to stop your bleeding, and thrust wires into you to assist your circulation. He would diet you with salt, vinegar, alum, and sometimes, vitriol. Boiling water would be poured on your feet when you seemed ready to faint. It would be his boast that he could keep life within you put two or more weeks longer than would have been possible without his treatment. Would you not have preferred to have been killed at once when you were first captured? What were the crimes you must have committed during your past incarnation to warrant such punishment as this?

Okakura, K., THE BOOK OF TEA, Tokyo: Kodansha International Ltd, 1989.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Looking Glass Bay, Sydney.

Inspired after taking time exposures of moving water after the heavy rain in Central Victoria last week. I find that it works wonderfully with large bodies of water, making everything soft and calm. 
It's a pity I don't have access to moving water more often.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Simple vessels.

I wish I could decide on a new glaze that I'm happy with.
Maybe I should make mortar and pestles for a while.

Scarred vessels.

Well I've become quite confident at knocking my vessels around. Pulling at the inside with a chop stick until it tears, then plugging it with a bit of clay, then rotating it at speed and ripping through the vertical ridge. Then centre (make it symmetrical) it by throwing it on the wheel again.
It's quite a release to destroy a perfectly round vessel.
The next stage, glazing, I'm finding a challenge. I can't quite settle on what I want. Gloss, matte, satin. Dipped, dribbled, brushed. One glaze or?

This is all the result of the wonderful "Tea and Zen" exhibition  I went to at the NGV.
So sad it ended in August.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Whipstick waterfall.


A deluge of water after 10 years of drought.


The local newspapers were warning of floods on Wednesday.
It started raining late Friday night, and by the morning I had 54mm in my rain gauge.
Saturday saw another 11mm, and most of that fell between 3:00PM and 3:05PM. With wind to match, I thought the house was going to go.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Fungi and orchids.

With all the welcome rain (the last 11 years have been drought) we've had over Winter, I'm finding little fungi and orchids that have not been present in my walks through the Whipstick forest over the last five years. Have I really been here for five years now!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


After 11 years of drought, I think it almost safe to say we're entering a period of average rainfall.
Last Winter was just below average, but this Winter it's rained nearly every day, I'm over it.
Over the last few years of visiting the Whipstick forest, it had become beautiful for its desolation. So much of the bush had been dead for so long that as you walked, it simply crumbled if you made contact with it.
Now it's so lush that the colours are almost gross.
Orchids, violets and fungi popping up everywhere. Most I have never seen before.
I wonder whether my ceramics are about to enter a new "colour" phase.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Testing a new glaze.

Possibly (understatement) a bit too fluid.

I new it was going to run a bit, but wow! That drip at the back stopped just in time.
This is now my favourite coffee cup.

Back to testing. I think I need to add some more clay (I'm using the same clay as the body in stead of kaolin) I find it easier to stop crazing this way))  to the glaze.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

My "Great" Great Grandmother.

On a recent trip to Sale, I was delighted to find this statue of my Great Grandmothers horse Patrobas, in Rosedale, Victoria.
It's not often that I get to visit the area these days, but I have many fond memories of holidays at Nambrok, the (no longer) family farm.
If your ever in that area, you should visit the Sale Gallery; It has a wonderful selection of Victor Greenaway vessels, in the retail shop. I nearly bought them all, probably will on my next visit.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Northern Song dynasty vase


Vase (plum blossom vase)
Northern Song dynasty
11th century - early 12th century
Cizhou, Hebei province, North China
stoneware (Cizhou ware)

Gift of Mrs. H W Kent, 1952

Currently on exhibit at the NGV.

Saturday, July 17, 2010


Japanese 1947-

Tea bowl
c.2008 Japan
stoneware (Kohiki ware)

Hamilton Art Gallery, Victoria, Australia
Purchased with annual Council allocation, 2009

Currently on exhibition at the NGV.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Red Dao painting.

I bought this painting of a Red Doa  to remind me of a wonderful visit to Sa Pa. Truly the highlight of a wonderful trip through Vietnam.

I've been back for a few weeks now, and as I'm still blogging about it, it would seem a good part of my mind is still there. 
If your into hand crafts, and looking for somewhere to visit. You should put Vietnam on the top of your list.

I have been working at the potter' wheel, and almost have a kiln load of little bowls to fire. So Monday should see a bisque fire followed by a glaze fire, and hopefully some new work by Friday.


Friday, May 21, 2010

Boats on the Saigon river.

I was fascinated by the Saigon river.
A working river with an endless procession of beautiful boats/ships.

Though It's an achievement just to get to the shore of the Saigon river. You have to cross six lanes of non stop traffic. For your first attempt I suggest you wait until some locals cross, just associate yourself with them on the crossing. Perhaps even close your eyes, walk in a straight steady line and prey. You will make it? It's just a matter of courage. Once over, the view of such a broad and busy working river makes the near death experience worth it. I think?
No, all joking aside, it's a wonderful experience. So different to our small a drought affected rivers in Australia.
At night the banks are crowded with locals. I assume escaping the balmy night heat.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Sa Pa (rural).

Sa Pa is so different from anything else I saw in Vietnam.

I went on two walking tours with local Black H'mong guides. Fascinating people, such a unique and rich culture. They make their clothes from hemp and use the local indigo plants to dye it a rich "indigo" blue, almost black.
Unfortunately I only spent two days in Sa Pa. I was not expecting it to be so interesting; both the people and scenery. the surrounding mountains really are quite amazing. I arrived at about 8am with the mountains shrouded by fog. Just before mid day the fog started to part, unveiling the massive mountains before me. I was blown away, I had no idea.  
Later that day I was taken for a walk through the closest village, Cat Cat. The following day I went on a 7 hour walk down mountains and around them, through villages and farms. It was an exciting day. I had the most wonderful Black H'mong guides: Cool and Me (not ME, the guides name was "Me"). Cool made me a lovely little horse out of straw as she walked along, I treasure it as probably the best souvenir of my trip to Vietnam.