Tuesday, 30 January 2018

January...time to make make make.....and make!

January has been my big chance to get lots of "bread and butter" work made. 
It has been a delight to have spent much of this month in the studio focused on my own work.
Due to a major kiln disruption at the end of last year classes have been postponed for 2018 until July
when my new kiln should be up and running.
( I am missing my students BIG TIME!)

However, given the circumstance,
I  have had a chance to change my focus to making production ware
rather than preparing for teaching and firing.
This has its advantages.
My days have been spent creating work to fill my on line store,
making stock for my Open Studio which will happen much later in the year and
making pieces for Station Street Store ( which is the only retail outlet that sells my work ).
It is great to catch up on this aspect of my work.

I always find it tricky to know which items I should concentrate on
and which will be most in demand so I have been trying to cover a lot of ground
in forms and various clay types.
I have been pumping out mugs, cups, bowls, vases, all in a variety of sizes, colours and shapes.
These always seem to be popular.

A weekend workshop with Sandy Lockwood at her Balmoral Studio 
was a great chance to get some teapots and jugs made.

Teapots have so many components 
that I like to know I have a few uninterrupted days to work on them.
Our hot Australian Summer makes it quite a juggle  
when attaching spouts, strainers, handles and finishing lids. 
Timing is crucial when judging just the right moment of clay dampness.

This workshop at Sandy's was a "handles workshop" over 3 days
so a perfect time for me to sit and make complex forms 
while catching up with my dear friends 
AdrianaKellieJane and Lisa.

 I start back at uni, ANU, in February/March 
and my focus will turn to more sculptural work
so best to get my functional work done and dusted 
ready for the next few months before I start back.

While I am not teaching I will try to
 knock over a good slab of study on my Masters.
It is a good chance to use my time to practise practise practise.
There is always so much room for improvement 
I need to keep my skills up as both a maker and a teacher.
I find that when I am teaching I focus on my students 
and I am more concerned about looking after their work progress 
than my own. So it is good to be able to give myself this time.

 I have finally started the process
 of getting my little Steve Harrison relocatable wood kiln
to fire with gas as well as wood.
Thank goodness Steve has been helping me with this
as I would have made some BIG mistakes without his guidance.
Thanks Steve, I am so lucky to have you and Janine to talk to about such things.

Exciting times !
I am very much looking forward to what comes next .

To finish off this post for January,
here is my favourite insightful reading link for this month

Is exhibiting important to you?
The Art of being an Artist
"Art is a Verb not a Noun"
check out this link to read more about this quote

While I am not working on an exhibition at the moment it is always on my mind.

Thought for the month....

I am not sure which famous artist said
Don't worry about WHAT you are....
as  describing yourself as a noun like
 "I am a painter", "I am a potter", "I am a photographer" etc
 will restrict your practice
instead use a verb like
"I like to paint", 
"I love making pots sometimes", 
"I have an interest in photography" 
This leaves all creative options and influences 
 open to you and your practice 
rather than being simply restricted to one.

 I like to think that being creative is expansive, 
evolving and active.

And now a little inspirational clip to watch 

Toshiba Takaezu : Portrait of an Artist

Happy creating.

Monday, 1 January 2018

Heres to 2018!

Life is always full of surprises and 2017 didn't disappoint me in this regard.
It has been a very full year with the usual variety of experiences.
As it is the start of a new year it seems appropriate to take a look at the how the time passed for us over the last 12 months.

I opened my online store for  Lilli Pilli Studio

It has been a great thing to do in connection with my website and it has been quite well received.

NB: There is not much available on there at present as I have not had a lot of time to replenish it with new work and photograph it since the middle of the year.
But stay tuned as I will be rectifying this within a couple of weeks!
Resolution number 1.

I also did a figurative workshop with Cristina Cordova
and I took one of my students, Kellie, along for the ride.

Classes started for the year at Lilli Pilli Studio.
A Wednesday class and a Saturday morning class and a special private class on Saturday afternoons for a lovely HSC student doing a ceramic Sculpture as her major work.

My daughter started uni and moved into uni accommodation
 it seemed like a new chapter had begun.

My next semester at uni also began.


 Grand son turning 3

and grand children turning 6

I did some printing and laminating on clay at uni

using some of my drawings

and made some ceramic crayons

                                       I brought home my Steve Harrison mobile wood fire kiln
                                       which I had ordered a year before. EXCITING!


                                                   We had a beautiful wedding to attend
                                                                           <3 <3
                                                   for these two special people, Rachel and Mark
                                                   may your lives be full of love and laughter

and I hung out with my buddy Adrianna 
at a workshop 
with Sandy Lockwood

And there was these precious people to hang out with too
I can't leave them out!


Term 2 at Lilli Pilli Studio
continued with classes on Wednesday, 
Friday evening and Saturday Classes

I was putting together some Udu drums for an up coming pit fire

                                             and this little grand daughter/princess turned 5

We went away for a few days to the place we were married.
The environment remains rejuvenating and beautiful
but we were disappointed with the tizzy renovations to what had been simple but quirky cabins
and I am not sure how they felt about me working with clay on their pretty verandah.


   Attended a raku workshop at Steve Harrison and Janine Kings Pottery with Kellie

My lovely father in-law had a 90th birthday

We had the annual winter 'alternate firing workshops'
during the term break at Lilli pilli Studio.
A great time was had by all and lots of lovely pots came out too.

It was great to welcome NAS grads and students to share in the weekend with us
and also some of Valeria's extended family

After the workshop came ....

Term 3 at Lilli Pilli Studio
More classes and new students started this term with
Classes on Wednesday, Friday morning and evening and Saturdays
Such a great bunch !

Sadly my husband's Aunty Pat died in July
she was a kind hearted and highly intelligent woman
who's company we always enjoyed 


We had the Open Studio Event
with some of my sister Karin's works

and my daughter in-law Emma's works

and some of mine

There was so much happening with kids throwing on the wheels 
and hand building and me doing demos
 but I was too busy to take many photos!

Then off to Canberra for a theory course at uni
'Arguing The Objects'

and time to stock up on clay


Working away on essays
and enjoying family

This little grand son turned 3

                and this guy (my second son)  turned 37


                                                       My last living Aunty died,
                                      Aunty Phyllis so an important trip to Gunnedah
                                      was made for her funeral and some time in the
                                       country was a good shake out.


Spring in the garden and the orchids doing well



Term 4 at Lilli Pilli Studio
classes and students increased with
a new class started on Mondays
14 students in all per week
But we all had a great time!

Starting school in the New Year
Orientation day for my second grand daughter

Station Street Store   becomes my first stockist



My youngest had her 20th birthday
No more teenaged kids for this mother!

and she had her first paid gig


the final weeks of classes 
with lots of student pots to fire before Christmas
and a major kiln fail

                                                    Kellie putting some goblets together


What a HUGE year!
It has not been too bad for us 
There is always the ups and downs, stresses and delights.
That is how life works isn't it?
Life, death, sadness, happiness all going on at the same time.
Sometimes there is too much of one but we have to take what comes our way.

There are lots of birthdays I haven't covered here 
and lots of other events and occasions 
but that is always the way with a big life and a big family
so this is just a bit of a taste.

Now that the festive season is done
my focus has come back to cleaning up and reorganising the studio.
Due to the retirement of my kiln 
I have had to put a hold on classes for the first half of 2018
So over the last few days I have been shaping my work space just for me.

I will try to repair my old 'Harry Kiln' and sell it as a going concern during January/February
I will then use my Steve Harrison kiln with gas for my own work
and once a kiln that is big enough for teaching is installed I will start classes later in the year.

I will miss my teaching but it will be nice to focus on my own work for a while too.

As it is New Years Day today 
I will start the year off with a day of making in the studio.
This year my resolution is to write a blog post at least once a month 
so that I don't have such a huge post to do at the end of the year!

Happy 2018 to you all
Let the work begin!