Saturday, 23 August 2014

Dreams and Farewells

The last few months have been a time for
hard work and organisation.
With the Australian Ceramics Open Studio
on the horizon, I have been in a machine like state
cleaning up, making and planning.
I am guilty of never feeling ready for such an event
and I never feel as though my work is good enough.

I decided to move my textiles down to a room in the house
which has proved to be a far more functional place for sewing.
The kiln was sending my needles and pins rusty
and I simply needed more space for pottery making.

The move allowed space in the studio as a
temporary show room for displaying my work
in my first ever 'Open Studio'.
The garden also received a face lift.

Last weekend it all happened
We had around 100 visitors to 'Lilli Pilli Studio'
and I had close to a sell out of work and the rain ….
well it kind of held off during the day
then it was wet on Saturday evening
and a drizzle on the Sunday

Thank you to all who came.
It was lovely to catch up with old and new friends
from the many walks of life I have had over the years.
Performance friends, textile friends, neighbours,
people connected with my children and my wonderful family.

My sister, Karin, was down from Wilcannia
for the week leading up to it so we had a
last minute raku day together.

It was a great boon to have her professional
and experienced advice in the setup of all the work.
Then to be able to share the Blue Mountains Community
friendship with her over the run of the Open Studio weekend.

It was not only my work on show.
I had hung my some of my brother Chris's photos in the studio.
Karin also had some of her work on display
and we had the book that she and the Western Heritage Group
have just had published for sale, 'Yamakarra'.
There was also my brother Mike's recent book on
Kimberley Rock Art 
and my daughter in-law, Suse,
also had her 'Special Tea' for sale.

It was a family affair, as usual,
I just can't get enough of my wonderful mob.

My 2 year old grand daughter Lillie 
helped me to set up the "CLAY PLAY" table
for aspiring creators.
Here,visitors were invited to 
get their hands into the mud
and see what they could make
either hand building or throwing.

If they made something they loved
I would fire it (for a small fee).

and YES I now have a shelf of creations to fire.

I also did demonstrations

It was great to see my 32 year old son have a go on the wheel 
for the first time and create a pot first go!
It must be in the blood :)

To  my surprise there was quite a few requests for classes
over the weekend and so, with some of the proceeds
from selling my work, I have purchased a new wheel
and I am getting another old one serviced and repaired.
That will give me three wheels in the studio.

I have started beginners pottery classes
on Monday and Wednesday mornings.

I don't have I lot of space in my little studio for students.
It is a castle for me but the space is limited when more
people are sharing it creatively, three students per class is my limit.

I was utterly exhausted on the Monday
when I received the sad news that my
 mentor /friend /2nd mum , Margaret Tuckson,
 had passed away on the Saturday.
 I wept buckets of tears.

I had seen her earlier in the year at an exhibition
she had had of her art collection.
The exhibition was good but I loved it in her house much more.
My parting words to her were
"I will come and visit soon"
but life got the better of me,
as is often the way with my busy family life,
and I didn't see her.
I miss her already .
Below are some of the photos my brother,
Chris Donaldson,
took of her in her house at the end of last year
when I took him to visit her.

On that visit, Margarets' dear friend, Gwyn Hanssen Pigott,
had just died and we drank tea from her mugs and
talked about what an amazing potter she had been.
I can't believe I won't be able to call in on her anymore.

                                           There is one of my raku pots on her dresser.
                                            She bought at our last exhibition.
                                           She was so supportive of our shows
                                           she came three times to the 2012 one
                                           and it was not easy for her to get around at 90!

People ask me what influences my ceramics 
and I have to say that Margaret's New Guinea pot and art collection 
had a profound effect on me.
She was writing her book and collecting pots 
at the time that I was her student.
I started with her at 15 and then left school at 16 
to do more classes with her and I continued until I was 18.
She was HUGE in my life 
though I don't think she ever realised it.

I had told Margaret that my dream was to be like her.
To teach and inspire people from my home studio
just as she had done for me when I was a teenager.
She informed my attitude to art and life.

As the request for classes came on the same day
as Margaret's passing,
I feel it is time for me to embrace teaching once again.
I can only dream of being like Margaret
but even if my classes are small it will be great to
share the love of clay.