Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Takeshi Yasuda's throwing demonstration drew audiences (and panel members) from all over the conference.

I was interested to note that the theme that emerged from this conference was the ethics of making within the globalized economy. With so many Australian potters visiting Jingdezhen we are faced with an ethical dilemma about using the skills and resources of other, cheaper countries to fulfill our creative vision. This issue emerged in several of the panel discussions and was addressed by many of the keynote speakers.
Robyn Phelan talking on her residency at Jingdezhen. (photo coutesy of Renee Ferguson)
Janet de Boos, Bruce Mc Whinney, Virginia Scotchie, Shannon Garson, Elaine O Henry, Kim Dickey and Marek Cecula on the education panel chaired by Owen Rye. (photos coutesy of Renee Ferguson)
Janet de Boos made the interesting point that the ANU distance Education course uses a combination of real life teaching in the form of Summer and Winter schools and video resources of in the form of teaching films and that this has been a most effective method of teaching skills.

And the last word....

must go to Takeshi who talked about the power of language and made the point that by using the language of the visual arts ceramicists are doing themselves a disservice. Takeshi posited that we need a new language to express the peculiar mix of the tactile, psycological, political and visual that ceramics encompasses he said "When you think about design you have to forget about old languages....We have to develop our OWN language"

The next Australian Ceramics Triennale will be held in Adelaide in three years time.


Alan Peascod, drawings and bottle at the National Art School Gallery
Danie Mellor presented a thought-provoking speech on the political implications of the decoration on Spode transferware of the 19th century.

The intellectual presentations have been thought-provoking and (sometimes!) fascinating but one of the really valuable things we get from conferences is the opportunity to hear artists speaking honestly and directly from the heart about what they do and why. Geoff Crispin's talk about the hidden supporters of both his career and ceramics generally was one such talk.

The art world involves a lot of front and often our eyes are directed only to the successes, the prizes and the resolved final works. To see the process that a mature artist has undertaken emotionally ,physically and creatively is invaluable. While it is essential for us as artists to have the public persona when engaging with the world of commerce it is really important, especially to emerging artists to see a rounded picture of a creative life.

The tender and beautiful drawing on the interior of Merran Esson's piece.

Saturday, July 18, 2009


The feeding frenzy around Jackson Li's brushes- they are worth it!

Tania Rollond showed the crowd how to use things you will find in any art supplies store , conte crayons, oil pastels and chinese brush pens to create line and volumeon a two dimensional surface.

There was a big trade display, Max Walker from Walkers clay, Northcote pottery and Clayworks were all there to talk technology and new tools!
Vicki Grima editor of the Journal of Australian Ceramics a dynamic exciting woman and wonderful artists has created the edition to end all editions with her latest issue of The Journal of Australian Ceramics. For those who are attending the conference and those who can't come it is full of articles relating to and written by the presenters ....and double the usual size!

Takeshi Yasuda
Takeshi has a new website..........
Look here for a treat

Meet the Speakers- Fleur Schell

The dynamic West Australian artist Fleur Schell was at the Triennale spreading the word about SODA, the privately run clay working center with residency that she and her partner founded on the shore of the Indian Ocean in Fremantle, Western Australia. The SODA Residency includes a self contained unit, access to workshops and galleries in the SODA precinct and exposure to the lively and talented Western Australian artistic community. You can find out more on Fleur's website
Fleur Schell has been a prolific artist since graduating from Curtin University in Western Australia with a Degree in Visual Art, in 1997 she achieved First Class Honours in ceramics at the Hobart School of Art in Tasmania. Her oeuvre encompasses a series of sculptural work inspired by her daughter Heidi, functional ware, and doorbells and sound objects. She says....
"Using porcelain I love to make sentimental objects that are rich in detail, playful and familiar.

The common thread throughout my work is a connection to my own personal history. Having grown up with my mother who is a piano teacher, our home was filled with wonderful music. In 1997, with a fascination of musical instruments of all kinds I felt compelled to make a series of sound instruments. Using combinations of porcelain, metal, wood and found components these instruments explored the possibilities of sound through ceramic media in a way that encourages audience interaction on an audio, tactile and visual level. The principal aim was to create cast ceramic forms that were capable of generating sound, and which, through their aesthetic and textural quality, invited an intimate tactile response. "

Thursday, July 16, 2009


Today I saw Simone Fraser using a blowtorch on one of her monumental pots.....

Jan Guy did a fascinating talk on touch and the clash between the handmade pot and the industrial world. She talked about the sense of touch between mother and child being the first reference to an understandng of space.

And I was mesmerised by Lynda Draper's philosophical reflection on her journey as an artist from the constraints of suburban Sydney to the nostaligia triggered by the the abandoned abjects she found in her present home- a ramshackle wooden beach house.

This was one of those wonderful artists talks that illuminates the work and gives insight into both the creative process and the emotional journey of the artist.

When: 07.07.2009 - 25.07.2009
Where: Stella Downer Fine Art - Waterloo, Sydney

The Australian Ceramics Triennale begins....

The day has dawned blue and cold and the Australian Ceramics Triennale has begun......
More images, information and inspiration to come.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Go and see........"Pourers functional vessels" at Object

Forest Fungi -little jugs Shannon Garson

"Pourers- Functional Vessels" is showing at Object Gallery during the Australian Ceramics Triennale. With over 30 artists this exhibition promises to be a fascinating snapshot of contemporary studio pottery in Australia.
The artists include........
Sandra Black, Les Blakebrough, Louise Boscacci, Mollie Bosworth, Sandra Brown, Trisha Dean, Brigitte Enders, Phil Elson, Lesa Farrant, Susanne Fraser, Honor Freeman, Louise Fulton, Shannon Garson, Malcolm Greenwood, Vicki Grima, Tamara Hahn, Phil Hart, Patsy Hely, Jan Howlin, Marianne Huhn, Chiko Jones, Sandy Lockwood, Liz Low, William Lungas, Janet Mansfield, Keiko Matsui, Bruce Nuske, Cath O’Gorman, Simon Reece, Mel Robson, Owen Rye, Jane Sawyer, Steve Sheridan, Kenji Uranishi, Yi-Hui Wang, Gerry Wedd, Sharon Wessels, Andrew Widdis
.......And there is a great blog where you can find previews of the lovely pouring, tea-drinking, sake sipping, oil drizzling, gravy boating, vessels.

Pourers: functional vessels
11.07.2009 - 26.07.2009
Object Gallery - Surry Hills, Sydney