Monday, 25 June 2018

June at Lilli Pilli

There is a real Blue Mountains chill in the air now but it is warm in the studio.

As usual it has been a busy time here.
I have now done 14 firings in my new kiln and I love it to pieces.

I have just competed the next 18 units in my MA Vis Arts with a series of figurative sculpture.
It was great to sculpt for a change and I will certainly be following through the remainder of my degree with work that builds on this new series of work.

Heading back from Canberra from my assessments 
I stopped at 'Balmoral' Studio to participate in 
one of Sandy Lockwood's workshops.
Sandy has probably been the teacher who has had 
the strongest influence on my ceramic practice.
Her workshops are my soul food.
I have been attending her workshops (whenever I can) since 2014.
Although I have have had various esteemed teachers, 
over my 43 year association with clay,
who have taught me so much (see my bio),
  I think it is Sandy who has been the mentor who 
has influenced me the most in my making practice.

Spending time in her studio is my clay retreat.

                                                  It's great to catch up with other potters too.


                           Unfortunately I had to miss a couple of days in the workshop this time
                                          due to a very special shared 90th birthday of my in-laws.
                                          These two people are a wonderful inspiration.
                                           They are kind and broad minded, wise and humble
                                          I am so fortunate to have them in my life.

                                         For these two beautiful human beings, I was happy
                                         to miss some of Sandy's workshop.
                                         But only for them!

I then returned to the Southern Highlands to finish my work on the last day.

Then back to the Blue Mountains to prepare for classes.
This next term of teaching I have almost doubled my number of students.
So I am busy getting organised!
While I will still only have three students at a time I will now be teaching 5 days a week.
The major consideration is storage for students work and materials.
So I have been building shelves and racks

My aim has been to get everything off the work benches.

The traditional containers for pottery tools is ceramic pots 
but in my modest sized studio I find that they take up far too much bench/work space.
So I have been putting everything on the walls, in various ways.
Easy to find and access and students will get to know where to return them to.
Hopefully it will be good for me too!

I have also been mixing large quantities of glaze 
With 23- 24 students we are likely to need it.

                                                And..... I have been stocking up with clay.
                                                I am keen to give my students a chance
                                                to try a variety of clay this term.

                                       I stocked up on Walkers white hand building clay
                                                            while I was in Canberra

I also made a special trip to Keans in Gosford 
for some of their lovely clays.
1/2 tonne! 
(Just made it down the drive with only a bit of scraping)

 there is more Blackwattle, Feeneys and Clay Works clay 
being delivered in early July.

                                      Down the track I hope to get a pug mill and a dough mixer
                                      but space and finances are not on my side at the moment
                                      so, for the time being, I have to buy packaged clay and recycle by hand.
                                      But that works fine for us for the moment.

                                    The lack of TAFE institutions that teach creative courses in Australia
                                     over the last few years has meant that there has been a huge increase
                                      in the demand for private studio classes.
                                     I love teaching from my own studio with my own style of teaching
                                     and seeing the creative work develop in such a variety of ways from my
                                    students, but there is only one of me.
                                     I recycle the clay, mix the glazes, fire the kiln, keep the tools
                                    renewed and sharp, wash the floors and keep everything up to
                                    OH and S standards.
                                    It is a big job.
                                    So I only teach 6 week terms and I have at least 6 weeks off
                                    between terms (depending on other life demands).
                                    Most of my students have been coming to classes for a few years.
                                    Almost daily I get email requests for classes but there is only one of me
                                    and my studio is not vast so I am limited in the numbers that I can take on.

                                   Here is the link for current classes
                                    Lilli Pilli Classes

                                    My apologies to those eager clay practitioners
                                    who I have not been able to accommodate this time around
                                    I do keep you all on my waiting list but you could also contact
                                     Robert Linigen who is another great studio pottery teacher
                                    in the Blue Mountains.


                                     and for something completely different.....

                                     Here is my favourite recipe for this month

                                            Mushroom Soup

1 leek finally chopped
2/3 cup pearl barley
 30g porcini mushrooms
2tblsp olive oil
250g shitaki mushroom
100g button mushrooms
100g chopped oyster and enoki mushrooms
1 tbsp  fresh thyme leaves
2 anchovy( optional)
2 cloves garlic
2 cloves black garlic (optional) 
2 litres of your favourite stock
flat leaf parsley 
dill leaves
parmesan cheese

Soak porcini mushrooms in warm water for 30 min until soft. 
Drain,chop porcini mushrooms and keep the water separately.
In a heavy saucepan add oil 
on a high heat add fresh shitaki and button mushrooms
season with salt and pepper
fry 1-2 min until golden
add garlic and thyme
cook 1 min and remove and set aside
soften the leek in the pan with a little oil and anchovy (optional)
add barley and stock, scrapping the bottom to collect the flavours
add black garlic, porcini mushrooms and water
Cook 40-45 min until barley is tender
add cooked mushrooms,oyster and enoki and cook a further 5 min until soft

Serve with a mixture of fresh rocket,parsly and dill
and grated parmesan cheese.

mmmm enjoy :)