Friday, 26 June 2015

Burning The Winter Fires at Both Ends.

With the cold months here it is time to make the most of 
the winter and cook pots with fire.
As we live in the Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia, 
where summer fires are a concern 
I am extremely cautious about when it is safe to fire with wood.
I only work with fire between June and September 
so I have to pack the time with lots of firings.

They do scrub up nicely and I love the process.

I have been alternating between pit firing alone, 
for my own work 

and also with my students 
who have been making some lovely work.

The preparation is long and slow
as I am a one person unit 

but it is great to be able to use the old falling down palling fence 
and to clean up all the sticks and 
bits of wood from our well treed block before the Summer
while firing my work in a way that produces colour and individuality 
and speaks of the environment I live in
I do LOVE that! 


but it is great to recycle 
infact that is a very important part of why I do what I do.
Not much is thrown away here.
The chooks get their share and the compost heap is looked after
and pit fireing is a great way to use some kitchen scraps too.
Banana skins, citrus peel, coffee grounds, corn husks 
and many more elements help to create colour in the fire pit.

Then last weekend I went off to Sandy Lockwood's
Balmoral Pottery

for a group woodfire

I like to keep learning new things from different artists

It makes me think about my process 
and consider how, what and why I make things.
New teachers keep me excited about my work 
as a growing and living experience.

I have had about 6 or 7 influential teachers in my life. 
As I work, I recall different asspects of their teaching.
I strongly encourage my students and any creative person 
to keep learning from as many people that you come across
who's art and aproach to making art you enjoy.
Be an eternal student I say, 
not stuck on one teachers approach,
don't just stick with one technique that you feel comfortable with,
take yourself out of your comfort zone. 
Go on regular creative adventures and challenge yourself
it will add depth to your process 
as you find new ways to work.

Well, that my idea of fun anyhow :)

How sad would it be to feel that you had nothing more to learn?
That the learning had stopped!
No, there is so many wonderful makers 
who have so much to share, enjoy! 

My lovely niece, Frances, came along 
to the woodfire at Sandy Lockwood's studio this time.

My sister, Karin came down too, 
from outback NSW.
So great to spend this kind of occasion with people you love.

All the  above photos of Balmoral Studio are by my brother Chris

So now I will spend the next month 
on wood fired raku ware
and another pit fire while the weather is chilly and moist.
Then another wood fire at Balmoral Pottery in August
There is much to do!

Gems did emerge from the fires
but I am not going to show you these just yet 
as I like to keep them a surprise for the exhibitions.
Come and visit my studio on the weekend of
August 15th and 16th
when I will have an open day
with my new domestic ware
some older work  
and a seconds table
Come and play with some clay 
and share a cuppa.

Then  in October 
I will have my favorite pieces on show
at our 7th Family Exhibition
in Bowral at the BDAS Gallery.

For updates and opening times go to our 
2015 Donaldson Family Exhibition FB page