Saturday, May 30, 2009

The view from the studio... with Sophie Milne

"It’s a factory and a workshop space. Industrial, familiar and oddly comforting. The view from my studio is often interrupted by a face peering in. A smile and a nod and my eyes return to the wheel. Music covers the occasional revving of the forklift and outside activity only serves to strengthen my focus on my work. I like it."

Sophie Milne is an Australian ceramicist based in Melbourne. This busy woman is also the curator of Pan Gallery. Sophie's beautifully thrown vessels are influenced by classic oriental shapes. The colours and scaffitto decoration however are absolutely contemporary. Sophie's exploration of environment has led her from the soft ochres and blues of the Australian bush.... her latest work exploring the urban environment and capturing the poetry of the electric wires that run like veins through our cities.

You can see Sophie Milne's latest work in "On the table too" during the Australian Ceramics Triennale
on the table too
09.07.2009 - 22.07.2009
Planet - Surry Hills, Sydney

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Meet the Speakers- Kim Dickey

Kim Dickey is an American ceramicist. Her playful assemblages and installations explore "Ceramics, Sculpture, Painting, Performance art, mixed media and post-medium theory, Installation art, film and video, culinary and food history, wunderkammern, botany." (from the University of Colorado website where Dickey is an associate professor.)

Dickey's work evokes a sense of wonder and playfulness seen in the best of post-modernism. Her sculptural gardens engage the viewer on many levels from pure, aesthetic pleasure through to the metaphysical, religous and social semiotics of gardens and food. Dickey says "I've always been intrigued by the language of objects, by their aspects of intimacy in everyday life. (Clay) is the stuff of the earth. Once it is fired, it becomes a cultural object. We interpret cultures through their ceramic objects. It's permanent and impermanent, and that also could be the garden we're talking about."(from "The Rocky Mountain News" June 14 2007)

She says:
“As an artist I want to be a role model in believing in what you do and working hard at it,” she says. It is a message she hopes to send not only to her students but also her own children. “That’s what we should all be doing in life: Finding moments of great joy.”
This is from an interesting article written on Dickey for "Denver Woman "magazine.

Kim Dickey speaking at the Australian Ceramics Triennale on Friday the 17th of July, during the morning session.

A view from the studio with- Simon Reece

here's a little baby one two three,
stands at the backdoor what does he see?
he see his daddy making cups,
very few leaves on the tree,wondering what we'll do together once the clock strikes three.

apologies to the Ahlbergs'

Simon Reece is an Australian ceramicist based in the Blue Mountains behind Sydney. Simon claims to be primarily a vessel maker however in recent years his "vessels" have moved from the domestic sphere into a metaphorical, philosophical sphere.

Simon says of this work:
"My aim is to reflect the essence of this place (the Blue Mountains) by creating objects that are representations of these rocks and looking into the breath or soul of these forms. That is, moving towards anthropomorphising them with consideration to animism. I intend to explore the idea that all things in nature, including mountains and rocks, inanimate objects and natural phenomena are imbued with a living soul. People are becoming more isolated as the global community spreads wider and the search for spiritual connections with living and non-living natural phenomena seems to be prevalent in our secular society."
from Simon's website

See new work from Simon Reece at "on the table too" and exhibition at Planet during the Australian Ceramics Triennale.
on the table too
09.07.2009 - 22.07.2009
planet - Surry Hills, Sydney
09.07.2009 - 22.07.2009
planet - Surry Hills, Sydney

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

my favourite pots...with Gerry Wedd

South Australian artist Gerry Wedd describes himself as "a potter producing functional pots,though occasionally my practice straddles design and the visual arts."

This is an extremely modest description of a practice that has ranged from producing teacups and domestic ware to.......

designing t-shirts and surfboards for iconic Australian brand Mambo, to recontextualizing blue willow ware into an incisive protest against the Howard goverment's treatment of refugees.

Gerry writes a great blog here
This is what he writes about his favourite pots.......

"The Daily Grind (the gift that keeps on giving)

These are my favourite cups. They were made by Phil Hart, ex- workshop head at the Jam Factory Craft and Design Centre. They don't get used every day but certainly most days. They are never taken for granted.
Maybe it's because I throw pots but every time I use these cups I imagine the making of them.The exaggerated throwing rings are imbued with the making;throwing that is confident, fluid and a little playful. They are nicely weighted and the perfect size for a double expresso. Phil weighs out the clay in equal proportions but gives in to the process resulting in quite a bit of variation in the rim profiles.I think he was probably listening to John Coltrane while making them."

See Gerry's work at the Australian Ceramic Triennale
"White Heat - Australian Ceramics Association Exhibition"
12.06.2009 - 19.07.2009
Manly Art Gallery & Museum - Manly

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Meet the Speakers- Jiangsheng li

Jiansheng Li is one of the speakers at the Australian Ceramics Triennale. I have seen Jiangsheng speak a couple of times and he is an inspiring, poetic and powerful speaker. Jiangsheng is the founder of the Sanbao Ceramic Art Institute in Jingdezhen , China.

"Sanbao began as a dream of Jackson Li of Jingdezhen and Wayne Higby of Alfred University, USA back in the mid-1990's. They envisioned an international ceramic art center located in China, that would provide the opportunity to the international arts and crafts community to explore and exchange the culture, arts and crafts of China.

The concept of a first international ceramic art center in China led to the search for a suitable site on the outskirts of Jingdezhen, long the world center of porcelain production and the origin of the best porcelain artifacts in history.

The Sanbao Valley had for countless centuries been the source of Chinastone for the studios of Jingdezhen and was dotted with numerous old water-powered hammer mills for crushing the stone. A group of farm houses and an adobe building were chosen as the site for the future art center."
From the Sanbao Ceramic Art Institute Website.

Jiangsheng Li (also known as Jackson Li) is also a renowned brush maker and will be doing a brushmaking demonstration at the Triennale. I have one of Jackson's brushes and the quality of the line it produces would make any ceramic decorator swoon. These brushes are just a small sample of the wonderful brushes for sale on the Sanbao Ceramic Art Institute website.


On Friday the 17th of July there will be a screening of the international award winning film titled 'Potter and Dragon Kiln Village' by Jiansheng Li (Jackson Li)at COFA

(COFA is an easy 5 minute walk from the National Art School)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Come and see.........Pru Morrison's work at the Manly Gallery

“It’s Wednesday, the morning after Waynes big budget and the kiln’s firing.
Today I’ll have a go at constructing treasurer Swan in a pond with the body of a swan and the head of Wayne. I wonder if he’s a married swan, a gay swan, a promiscuous or chaste swan, or a busy swan with no time for swan love. The image is looking out of the studio onto the side street which leads onto the main road that goes over the story bridge into town. It looks quiet in this pic but its noisy always which makes a good soundscape for making a swan in a pond bearing gifts of flowers and a song for his beloved, whose identity needs researched. “
Pru Morrison's words and view..... May 2009

This is an image from Pru Morrison's studio. Pru is known for her skill in slip-casting and her wonderful (and sharp) sense of humour. Her work is a detailed melange of slip-casting, with incised and carved decoration incorporating funny and subversive images and text. See Pru Morrison's latest works as part of the "White Heat" exhibition at the Manly Gallery during the Australian Ceramics Triennale.

White Heat - Australian Ceramics Association Exhibition

12.06.2009 - 19.07.2009
Manly Art Gallery & Museum - Manly

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Come and see.......

There is a wonderful "Exhibitions" page on the Triennale website.
The Triennale is co-ordinating with galleries throughout Sydney and around Australia to create a wide ranging survey of Australian and international contemporary ceramics.

"You will experience a visionary range of exhibitions showcasing the country’s most respected and innovative object makers. The diversity of shows will heighten awareness of the capacity of ceramics to embrace contentious issues, materiality, utility, hybrid practice and creative thinking. Some exhibitions will highlight the work of established practitioners while others will represent the dynamic talent of young emerging artists. Invited international ceramic artists from China, Taiwan, Korea and America will also be represented.

For up-to-date information about all the shows, visit the Australian Ceramics Triennale website’s EXHIBITIONS section."
All information on exhibitions has been compiled by Julie Bartholemew.

Victor Greenaway's latest work on exhibition in conjunction with the Australian Ceramics Triennale
"Italy with Soul: Reflections in Form and Figure."
05.06.2009 - 20.07.2009
Cudgegong Gallery, Gulgong, NSW - Gulgong

Friday, May 8, 2009

Meet the Speakers- Paul Mathieu

Top image - Kiss Bowls Bottom image- Flower Vase with peaches and bats, after Matisse
“My aim is to reconcile extremes and oppositions, destroy hierarchies and confuse conventions. Contradictions are built-in, embraced, and essential.”
so says Paul Mathieu, Canadian artist and craft guerilla.

Afternoon Sun Garniture (After C. Cavafy)

Mathieu has spent his career poking fun at conventions of aesthetics, art,craft and any other conventions that come within his focus. The author of several books including "Sex Pots: Eroticism in Ceramics", Mathieu uses the ceramic medium to question the hegemony surrounding the visual arts.

He says:
“But if ignorance, prejudice and discrimination are slowly disappearing from our understanding of sexuality, this is not the case yet for ceramics. The prevalent hegemony of the image and the dominant discourses and attitudes in art circles, in academia and in art institutions, where the focus tends to be on the eye over the hand (touch being an unbreakable taboo in art experience), make that difficult if not impossible. Ceramics, it often seems, is quite simply an invisible practice, that does not even deserve consideration.” Sex Pots: Eroticism in Ceramics, New Brunswick, New Jersey, Rutgers University Press; London, A&C Black Publishers, 2003, p. 9.
Paul Mathieu is a keynote speaker at the Australian Ceramics Triennale, the date of his talk is to be advised

Monday, May 4, 2009

Meet the Speakers- Virginia Scotchie

"My recent work in ceramic sculpture centers around the abstraction of personal objects that have been given to me by my family members; an old pipe of my father's, a funnel from my mother's kitchen, an old bulb from the family Christmas tree and my childrens toys. A recent object is a handmade wooden tool that was fashioned by my Italian grandfather to plant in his garden. Slender and pointed with a stump of a side handle, this small tool fit the hand of my grandfather and served him well. For me it holds visual intrigue and a connection to my memory of him. The warn, crusty surfaces on many of the pieces are created to give a sense of how time acts to make and unmake a form. I so not wish for this work to be named or lableled, rather it is my intention that through the borrowing and reformation of objects the work might trigger one to look closer and find beauty and intrigue in the humble, ordinary and familiar objects that surround us."

These are the words Virginia Scotchie uses to describe her practice.

This is taken from an article Dr. Lynn Jones Ennis wrote to accompany an exhibition at the North Carolina State College in 2005.
"To be around Scotchie is to witness energy in motion. She processes information on so many levels. Her joyful home is full of color and wonderful objects. Her husband, Peter Lenzo, also is a potter and works in assemblages that are scattered throughout the house. Between them they have three children, three dogs, two cats, and several reptiles.

Scotchie pays attention, and it is this attention that allows her to transform everyday items such as funnels into works of art that invite closer inspection. Sometimes she pokes holes in objects once functional, only to render them unusable in their traditional sense.

Often when she starts a piece, Scotchie isn't sure where it will go. Although she does sketch - she has sketchbooks in every room of her house - she rarely makes something that looks exactly like what she has drawn. And she likes solitude when she is working with the clay form.

Her newly built studio in her back yard is reached by walking through a lovely garden adorned with ceramic spheres, inviting visitors to stop and look. Her former workspace was shared with Lenzo; now they each have a studio. Her sparse space is filled with light and an orderly calmness. Scotchie is a planner. For example, she cuts wooden forms into various shapes, which serve as patterns for her work.
from "Women in Clay" organized by the North Carolina State University Gallery of Art and Design, Dr. Lynn Jones Ennis, Curator of the Collection.2005

Virginia Scotchie is speaking at the Australian Ceramic Triennale on Sunday the 19th of July at 9.00