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Watson Arts Centre is an ACT Government facility managed by Canberra Potters' Society Inc. CPS is supported by the ACT Government

    

Last Friday Supper Club is a regular space for informal and social discussion and information sharing related to all things ceramic. There are regular Artist Talks from our visiting artists as well as topical film nights so join us for a light supper and drink after work on the last Friday (usually!) of each month (except December) from 6 pm (or as otherwise stated below).

Gold coin donation

Check the newsletter for the next Supper Club event

 

FRIDAY 22 JULY at 6pm

FEAST! presenter Steve Williams and the winter school participants talked about the process and outcomes of the course and presented food on some of the work they had designed and made.

 

 

 

 


 

Open Day 2015 on the 1st November was a wonderful success - the rain held off, there were great demonstrations, people queued to buy pots for Raku firing, children and adults had fun 'having a go' with clay, the pizzas and soup were delicious - see photos here.

 

As always, a big thank you to everyone who helped!

 

 

The first event in our Last Friday Supper Club on Friday 31 July was a showing of a film about Peter Rushforth - Playing with Clay: the Life and Art of Peter Rushforth.

 

 

 


There was a great turn-out for the presentation by our current artist-in-residence HIDEMI TOKUTAKE on Friday 20th February.

Demi took us through a slide-show of works by Japanese master potters and the tradition in which she originally trained. She talked about how she was drawn to more free-form sculptural works with surfaces showing the marks made during the making process. She finished with images from Sculpture by the Sea in Sydney in 2014, in which she was accepted to exhibit.   

Image right: Hidemi Tokutake, Untitled, 2013

 


 

Canadian ceramicist, master of salt-fired stoneware and current artist-in-residence Cathi Jefferson presented an artist talk and slide show on FRIDAY 14th NOVEMBER to an enthusiastic audience.

Cathi has been creating salt fired stoneware for more than thirty years. She has a studio and gallery on southern Vancouver Island in the Cowichan Valley near Duncan.

Cathi’s creation of functional dishes is grounded in her belief that it’s important to have handmade items in our lives to help us remain connected to the natural world and to each other. Most of her work is wheel-thrown and altered into square or triangular shapes. Cathy uses a salt-fired technique to finish her stoneware.

Her sculptural pieces are inspired by the massive trees and other forest elements that surround her studio.

See www.cathijefferson.com


Artist-in-Residence Michael Keighery

Some twenty people joined artist-in-residence Michael Keighery on the 31st August 2014 to learn about the man and his work. Michael’s mixed media, ceramic-based and performance art is collected, respected and exhibited worldwide. From the Second Beijing International in China to the Huntington Gallery in Boston USA, his work has been featured in major contemporary art events. In Australia Michael has presented regular solo exhibitions in Sydney as well as at the Brisbane City Gallery, New England Regional Art Museum and Maitland Regional Art Gallery. He is also an acclaimed pyrotechnic and performance artist. His work incorporates cutting edge digital technology to merge text and imagery with ceramics and other media. An acerbic social commentator, his work is frequently controversial, constantly treading the border between the acceptable and the unacceptable.

Michael’s work is widely collected and represented in prestigious public collections including the National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Victoria, Art Gallery of WA, Powerhouse Museum, Artbank, Taipei Fine Arts Museum and the Fuping International Ceramics Galleries, China as well as many regional galleries across Australia.

He has had a distinguished career as an arts educator and policy maker, most recently as Head of Fine Arts Program UWS from 2003 to 2007, National President (Australia) International Association of Art (IAA), Chair of National Association of the Visual Arts (NAVA) as well as Chair of Viscopy and a member of the NSW Arts Advisory Council, NSW Ministry for the Arts.

Keighery also has a long history of exploring how new technologies such as CNC Milling and 3D Printing can be incorporated into traditional ceramic studio production processes.

www.keighery.com


Artist-in-Residence Verney Burness

A select group of people turned up on Sunday 3rd August to hear Verney talk about her inspirations and innovative creative process. The many variables in her making process give Verney plenty of scope for future development, and in talking about the residency, it was obvious that the space and time to work has been important in supplying future explorative directions.

Using balls of clay straight from Verney's freezer, attendees were able to see for themselves the amazing surfaces produced when frozen clay breaks apart when thrown at the ground. And it's not as easy as it might sound to get the frozen clay to break!


Verney Burness was artist-in-residence in studio 3 during June and July 2014. Verney, who graduated from the ANU School of Art at the end of 2013, was awarded the two-month residency by CPS through the ANU’s Emerging Artist Support Scheme (EASS).

Verney used the residency to continue her investigations into using clay to create natural forms that evoke mountains, crevasses and ice shards. She works in a very unconventional way by freezing and then breaking clay. Whilst one would hesitate to say that this is unique to Verney – some ceramic artist somewhere in the world is bound to stick up their hand and say ‘me too’ – it’s certainly not a technique that you come across every day. The shards and fragments that result from breaking the frozen clay are then further worked, fired and exhibited in arrangements and groupings reminiscent of mountains and geological specimens. The installations invoke a space for contemplation of the human relationship to nature, including both destructive and creative forces.


National Gallery of Australia - Gold of the Incas: Lost worlds of Peru

For our April 2014 members’ event, new co-ordinator Rick Beviss kicked off with a free guided tour for CPS members of the National Gallery of Australia’s blockbuster exhibition Gold of the Incas: Lost worlds of Peru.


JANE JERMYN - artist-in-residence

Twenty-three people gathered on Friday 21st February 2014 for Jane’s talk and slide show. Most were CPS members but it was lovely to also welcome some non-potting friends that Jane has made since arriving in Canberra in January. (By all accounts, Dickson swimming pool is a very friendly place!)

Jane didn’t begin working with clay until she was in her forties but once she started, she threw herself into it wholeheartedly. If the photo she showed of some of her very first pieces is anything to go by, she had an immediate affinity for clay. Training as a production potter on the Crafts Council of Ireland Pottery Skills Course was followed by obtaining first a diploma, then an Honours Degree and finally a Masters degree. Invitations to exhibit and demonstrate her techniques, along with various residencies, have given Jane the opportunity to travel to many countries around the world.

Janes’s two-day masterclass is scheduled for the 16th and 23rd March. There are still a few places available.

More about Jane: www.janejermynceramics.com and https://www.facebook.com/janejermynceramics.

 


OPEN DAY 22nd September 10am to 2pm

Canberra Potters’ Society opend its doors at Watson Arts Centre on Sunday 22nd September for its 2013 Open Day. It was a great opportunity to see potters in action and to join in a range of fun activities.

Highlights of the day included demonstrations of hand-building and throwing on the potter’s wheel, the 2013 Members' Exhibition in the gallery and the ever-popular ‘buy a soup bowl, get the soup for free’! As always, visitors were encouraged to have a go at handbuilding and wheelthrowing. Children’s clay activities kept  the younger ones occupied and Raku firing demonstrations took place throughout the day.

For local and visiting potters, Clayworks, Walker Ceramics, Keane Ceramics and Black Wattle Pottery Supplies had trade stands. 


November Salt-firing

Alex de Vos will co-ordinate a salt-firing at Strathnairn Arts Association in November 2013. Check back here for details.


Anne Masters   21st April 2013

CPS member Anne completed a 6-week residency at the International Ceramic Research Centre (ICRC), which is located in a beautiful rural setting near the fishing village of Skælskør in Denmark early in 2013.

Anne spoke knowledgeably about the residency experience, lessons learned, presentations she gave, how to prepare for an international residency (eg what materials to take, asking what costs are involved), kilns, clays, shipping cost shocks, and other unexpected issues that arose during the residency. Anyone planning an international (or Australian) residency would have gained really useful information, and those people not planning a residency found it a really interesting talk anyway!


SANDY BROWN  2nd November 2012

 Visiting artist and inspirational tutor from the UK, Sandy Brown, gave a presentation about her work and extensive career in ceramics.

Sandy began her career in the 70s in Japan. On her return to England she quickly gained recognition for her bold, colourful, exuberant work with its fresh clay handling and spontaneous glaze painting. Colour, dynamism and free expression are the words which immediately spring to mind when thinking of Sandy's work. She exhibits worldwide and runs courses in intuitive creativity.


Artist-in-Residence STUDIO SALE

and MEMBERS’ EVENT October 2012

Miki Oka’s studio sale on the 27th & 28th October was a great success with plenty of visitors and sales, especially on the Saturday. It took a while for Miki to get away from the customers in the studio to chat to members who came for the members’ event! Now that Miki’s residency has come to an end we wish her all the best for her return to Japan.

A BIG thank you to members who made donations  to help Miki Oka replace her stolen MacBook.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(photo by Garry Palecek)

    


MOULD MAKING MANIA

SATURDAY 25 AUGUST

Reports are that a great time was had by all! Everyone got to take home some moulds, and the Society now has some new ones for students and members to use. Thanks to Jane and Maryke for organising this making event.


ADAM KNOCHE

20th July 2012

Report by Sara Hogwood

Eleven people gathered in July to meet Adam Knoche, current artist-in-residence at Strathnairn Arts Association in Holt, and his wife Angie. Adam hails from Alton, Illinois, on the Mississippi River, supposedly the most haunted city in the USA. It’s famous as the hometown of Robert Wadlow, the tallest verified human being (2.72m at the time of his death at 22), and for the prehistoric Piasa bird (a Native American dragon) painted on a cliff face nearby.

Fascinated by different firing methods, both technically and for the glaze results,
Adam not only fires in reduction but also cools in reduction. This involves closing all dampers on the kiln as the temperature cools to 800-900OC and then introducing pieces of bark into the kiln, where they burn and reduce the atmosphere. The process involves an 8-hour cooling period. The result is black iron oxide glaze effects: metallic black with subtle colour changes.

Adam also achieves reduction-fired effects in electric kilns by packing pots into saggars filled with graphite chunks sourced from a machine shop. Intriguingly, the graphite chunks don’t burn up but can be re-used again and again.

From his interest in landscape architecture Adam has brought metal and concrete to his clay work, embedding the feet of tripod clay structures in concrete and using metal handles on pots. As an artist he doesn’t limit himself to clay but also paints and draws and is creating artworks with colour and texture by burning tar paper painted with oxides and clay.

Adam’s talk and slide show finished with a viewing of some works from his first firing at Strathnairn, a wonderful foretaste of his upcoming residency exhibition on the 28th and 29th July. If you missed the exhibition you can view some of Adam’s work by visiting www.etsy.com/shop/MudHolePottery and clicking on the ‘sales’ link. 

Adam in conversation with Suzanne Oakman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rediscovered vessel

 

 

   

MEET ANNE MASTERS, OUR INAUGURAL EASS ARTIST-IN-RESIDENCE

29 FEBRUARY 2012

Report by Jane Crick

On a very cool and VERY wet evening a surprisingly large number of enthusiastic members gathered in the Residency Studio for a presentation by Anne Masters, the first recipient of a CPS residency as part of the Emerging Artist Support Scheme (EASS).

Anne explained how her six weeks in residence had flown by and that she had been on a very steep learning curve to achieve the goal she had set herself for the time. Making new moulds, experimenting with press-moulding and slip-casting to achieve the look and weight she was seeking for her bowls had been a challenge.  In her search for suitable decoration, to be applied by the shellac resist and wash-back techniques with which she was familiar, she had settled on the Royal Bluebell, the floral emblem of the ACT, for her inspiration.

Researching widely in both botanical and ceramic sources she had abstracted a design with which she was happy. The CPS library had held a wealth of information which she had found invaluable and she recommended all members to take advantage of the wonderful resource which is the library.

Passing around completed prototypes (which looked exquisite and felt beautiful) and transitional examples of her new work, Anne said she realised how advantageous it had been to have a residency to enable her to fast-track the early development of new work. Anne thanked CPS for this wonderful opportunity. She will continue the development of this work when she returns from her attendance at the annual conference of the National Council on Education in the Ceramic Arts (NCECA) in April.

Thank you, Anne, for such a listener-friendly and frank presentation.

  

 N.B. NCECA is a USA organisation informing and peer-supporting teachers of ceramics. Its annual conference is a major event, and attended by thousands of international delegates and hosts a program of hundreds of presentations and exhibitions. The NCECA conference for 2012 is in Seattle in March; in 2013 it will be in Houston, Texas. 
 


A DAY at LOOPLINE POTTERY with STEVE HARRISON

Report by Dalma Demeter

On 19 November 2011 a group of enthusiastic potters (from the very beginners to experienced artists) headed down for a daytrip to Balmoral Village to visit Steve Harrison’s and Janine King’s Loopline Pottery. A few of us got somewhat lost when crossing the historical Picton-Mittagong Loop Line railway (giving the name of the studio), but we honestly enjoyed the unintended additional visit to some fairy-tale-like corners of the village before reaching the small estate hidden in beautiful bushland.

We received a tour of the house, gardens, workshops, and listened to stories that reflect a lifestyle many of us probably dream about, but few can achieve. Steve and Janine built their home and workplace and live their life with a minimal impact on the environment. Their house – originally a country school, expanded with materials obtained from an old train station – could serve as a model of sustainable living. The organic garden offers almost everything a healthy family could need and the workshops are entirely carbon neutral. Solar power, energy efficient appliances, rainwater tanks, furniture made by Steve from wood that nature offers of its own accord, and pots made in a wood-fired kiln; all setting a respectable example, especially considering the only consumption-based city life most people know.

We admired Janine’s floral-painted pots, each looking like a piece of Spring in lively, fresh colours; and listened to Steve, who seems to understand the language of rocks. Apparently all stones from the shire - and even the roadside debris, can talk to Steve. He can often tell from a simple crack or angle of an edge, what clay or glaze that rock can turn into. While he bases his prediction on rock-solid chemistry knowledge and yet claims to often be surprised by the result, his skills appear to the ordinary (but artistic-veined) layperson as the capability to see the colourful butterfly in an ordinary caterpillar. Steve collects rocks, mills them into fine powder, then mixes it with other materials, most of which he’s also collected and prepared. He produces unique little pots whose colours could never be compared to or copied by machines; reflecting the triumph of art over industrial mass production.

After immersing ourselves in Steve’s stories filled with contagious enthusiasm for sustainable life and pottery, we had the chance to pretend that we too could create glaze from the rocks offered by the shire. Steve made our task almost embarrassingly easy by providing all the raw materials, tools and the recipes. At this date it’s unknown if we managed to produce the same glaze as the samples also provided. Irrespective of the outcome, the process was real fun, and we curiously wait for our ‘masterpieces’ upon a test grid tile fired at CPS, reminding us of a wonderful day spent in Balmoral.

Thank you, Steve and Janine, for the insight into an admirable sustainable lifestyle and the glimpse into the magical world of Loopline Pottery!       

You can find out more about Steve Harrison at www.hotnsticky.com.au

Above image: hard at work learning Steve's glaze testing method


INDIGENOUS CERAMICS and other 3-D art at the National Gallery of Australia - July 2011

 

On a cold afternoon, eleven CPS members and friends (one celebrating a birthday!) joined guide Elizabeth Bennett to view some of the very special ceramics in the national collection by indigenous artists.

Elizabeth had been asked to focus on the work of a well-known recently deceased artist and had arranged for quite a number of her works to be retrieved from storage and made available for us to view in the Study Room.

Out of respect for this artist's culture we are not allowed to use her name and she is referred to as "Thapich" which means "the person who we know" and would have been what she was called before she was born.

Rose, the curator for the Study Room, had assisted Elizabeth in researching these works and we were told the relevant dreamtime stories in the artist's own words.

It was a privilege to see the works in such detail. Elizabeth had also arranged for a selection of pots from Hermannsberg, Ernabella, and the Tiwi Islands to be available in the Study Room.

The very different styles from the various regions were fascinating. Moving from the Study Room to the galleries, Elizabeth showed us a more extensive range of work from Hermannsberg now very appropriately displayed alongside the paintings of Albert Namatjira, who was also from Hermannsberg.

We finished by viewing work by CPS board member Janet Fieldhouse, who is of the Torres Strait people.

Altogether a very interesting and inspiring tour - and there is a lot more to see. We may have to arrange another visit.

Jane Crick

 


Hillary Kane - May 2011

 

A members' event with visiting artist Hillary Kane was organised at short notice in May, while Hillary was at Watson conducting a 2-day workshop. Despite the short notice and only being able to notify members by email and word of mouth, we had a great turn out. Hillary was an enthusiastic speaker and inspiration to all.

 


PIT FIRING with Maryke Henderson - Saturday 9 April

On Saturday the 9th April students from Jane Crick's Monday and Maryke Henderson's Wednesday classes along with a number of members met to pack their pots for a pit firing. it was a beautiful still morning ideal for the firing.

Pots of all shapes and sizes and of a variety of clays were prepared for the pit. Copper wire and string soaked in a solution of salt, borax and copper carbonate was wrapped around some while others had seaweed placed on them. A wadding mix which contained salt, copper, crushed heat beads, sawdust, cow manure and fire clay was placed amongst the pots.  Salt and copper carbonate was placed on the bed of sawdust on which the pots were placed. The pots were then covered with timber and lit from the top.  The fire was allowed to burn slowly with the help of some corrugated iron and the pit was re-stoked twice during the afternoon before being closed down.

Overall, the results were good and most pots had good colour. In this firing even the white raku clay responded well. Maryke's students were very happy with the results and plan to do it all again next term.

 


Christmas Party - December 2010

Great food (thank you, Maryke Henderson and all your helpers), good weather and great company –what more could you ask? It was a terrific way to round off 2010.


SALT FIRING

November 2010 members' event - report by Jane Crick; photos by various participants

Twenty-one CPS members participated in the salt-firing at Strathnairn on Saturday 13th November.

The kiln was loaded on the Friday morning with many willing helpers - some of whom stayed for the whole time (9am to 2.30pm) even though flagging from the heat as the day went on.  Wadding was mixed; many small balls and sausages were made and applied; slurry was slurped; and everyone learned a lot from Alex's beautiful and thoughtful pack.

At 6am on the Saturday morning Alex lit the kiln and the gas pressure was increased a little every thirty minutes until the gauge read 14psi. When the temperature in the kiln reached about 1000ºC, as indicated by an 06 cone, the damper was closed to about one third to throw the kiln atmosphere into reduction to ensure the clay bodies were reduced. After about an hour the damper was opened again and the temperature in the kiln began to rise steadily. As always there was a difference in the rate of temperature rise in various parts of the kiln and this was monitored by observation of the fall of cones placed at strategic points.  By 6.30pm the kiln had reached 1240ºC and the salting could begin.  The damper was closed as before and the gas pressure was reduced to 10psi so that the sodium fumes would be held in the kiln as long as possible.  As the kiln has been well-used and already had a large build-up of salt inside Alex salted twice, using about 8kgs of salt each time, and allowing the fumes to clear and a short period of oxidation between the two saltings.  The final temperature in the kiln was between 1260ºC and 1280ºC.  A total of four draw rings were pulled from the kiln to assess the salt-glaze development.  A constantly changing support crew assisted with the firing - many thanks to all, and especially to Alex.

Alex has said that this was a very successful firing and that the most variable, and possibly the most result-influencing, element was the choice of clay.  Certainly reactions varied from ecstatic delight to dismal disappointment.  Such are the vagaries of salt-firing.

What can influence the results achieved:

  • The choice of clay - as stated before, white clays and highly porcelaineous clays will seldom give good peel or coloured results.  We had a lot of white clays in this firing.  Dark clays will sometimes be too chocolatey or black.  We had very dark clays in this firing, too.

  • The position of the piece in the kiln - is it shaded by another piece or a prop? or just too far away from the vapours?  We had many small pieces and many bowls and flats in this firing.

  • There should be a reducing atmosphere in the kiln at about 1000ºC to reduce the clay and again during the salting to produce glaze colour.

  • The height of the salting ports above the burners should be correct to allow the salt to sublime quickly.  This kiln has been used successfully many times and its suitability should be beyond question.

  • The bag walls inside the kiln should be of a height which allows sodium vapour to freely enter the chamber of the kiln.  The bag walls of this kiln are tried and tested and always utilised in the pack.

  • A short period of reoxidation after salting will brighten colours. 

This kiln sometimes does not achieve this.

What clays did I use?

  1. TMK - a white porcelaineous clay - it gave, as expected, a cold grey, lightly peeled result, and had been textured and decorated accordingly.

  2. CPS recycled stoneware with 10% BRT added - nice bright result with good slip response.

  3. Keanes White Raku - disastrous. This clay has previously given good results but the current batch appears to resist fuming at any temperature. The applied glazes had melted so correct temperature was reached but, although showing signs of trying to sodium react, the clay surface was rough and dull.  Companies change their clay sources all the time so one must expect that occasionally a clay will not perform as anticipated.

  4. Mansfield Wood-fire Porcelain - glorious in every respect, wherever it was in the kiln.

Another opportunity to salt fire will be offered next year so that we can practice all we have learned.

Alex de Vos - kiln master

Finished works

Some of the finished works


Jeff Mincham: Ceramics

Living Treasures: Masters of Australian Craft

On Saturday 17th July over 40 people came to the gallery to hear Greg Daly interview Jeff Mincham. This fascinating insight into Jeff's life and work was followed by a floor talk about some of the individual pieces in the exhibition. Many thanks go to Greg and Jeff for this wonderful event.

Read more about the exhibition, which is in the gallery from the 16th July to 22nd August

Image: Jeff Mincham working in studio, Cherryville, South Australia, 2009. Photo: Grant Hancock


ROSELINE VEDRINES

May 2010 members' event - report & photos by Jane Crick

An enthusiastic group of CPS members enjoyed meeting and conversing with Rosline Vedrines at her exhibition 'From Paris with Love'. Seated in the garden of Strathnairn homestead on a glorious autumn afternoon, Roseline told us of her childhood in Normandy and her delight in observing the countryside. As a young adult she moved to Paris to study a language-based course at a international institution and, while there, she started wood carving as a serious hobby.

Roseline and her family moved to a small town about 4km west of central Paris. She found there was no opportunity there for working with wood and so she discovered clay. She enjoyed the immediate responsiveness when compared with wood and has been working with clay ever since. She exhibits annually at Potters Markets and also has private exhibitions and supplies a shop in Corsica, where her family enjoy their holidays. Recently she has become more serious in her approach to her clay work as she has been given recognition by an important auction house in Paris, which now stocks her work.

Roseline has been working with raku-style firings for about three years and particularly likes the naked raku techniques although "burnishing is very hard work"! Several of the pieces in her exhibition demonstrated naked raku and it was particularly striking on her figurative work.

Thank you, Roseline. I hope your wish to visit Australia again comes true.

Roseline contemplates one of her beautiful women

"Oops" - and in spite of his accident, he found a new home!

 


AGNIESZKA BERGER

March 2010 members' event - report by Jane Crick

An interesting and entertaining evening was enjoyed by eleven members who attended this presentation by Agnieszka. A short video introduced us to some of the work she had made in Poland. She was one of a small group of potters using a co-operatively run studio in Warsaw which served as a focus for learning skills associated with making clay objects, kiln-building and firing. Much of the work featured decoration by photographic printing on to the clay, a technique which was new to most of us and which Agnieszka is hoping to use again now that she has "found a friend with a dark room". Clay sculptures with moving parts and mixed media inclusions also featured strongly, as did the female figures we have come to recognise as Agnieszka's work. This work sparked animated discussion and Agnieszka was very generous with her explanations and information. Following the presentation of her own work, Agnieszka introduced us to the work of four of her favourite European ceramists:  Leanid Tratseuski from Belarus and Andrzej Bero, Barbara Trzybulska and Kasia Modrzejewska, all from Poland. Photographs of work by all these artists can be viewed on the internet.

Thank you, Agnieszka, for opening our eyes to something new.


A morning of low temperature Smoke Firing for Decoration

February 2010 members' event - report & photo by Joan Barrass


Who could resist the chance to use some resists in a smoke firing with Jane Crick at the recent members' event? Certainly not certain people from Cooma, the coast, further afield and local - a small but extremely enthusiastic group who enjoyed the morning enormously while experimenting with various methods of mark making on the smooth, or preferably burnished, clay surface.

There were two methods of smoking the pots - slow and fast. The slow method used shredded newspaper compressed in the base of the metal garbage bin, pots were then placed on this layer and further shredded newspaper over and above the pots to the top of the bin.  The newspaper was lit and left to smoulder for an hour and a half.

The fast method also used newspaper, this time not shredded but loosely crumpled in the base of the bin, pots placed and more crumpled newspaper to the top of the bin.

The newspaper was lit and smoking took place.  Some pots were refired with this method, each time gaining further smoking marks. These two methods gave varying degrees of smoke absorption as a result of resist slips, foil, strings and textured wrapping.  We were all excited and very happy with results and the experience we gained which will certainly be used for some adventurous smoke firings in the future.


1000 POTS and much, much MORE - A Churchillian Experience

August 09 members' event with Jane Crick

The programme for the 43rd Conference of the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts, held in Phoenix, Arizona, was very full with many concurrent sessions. Each day I read the programme and prioritised what I would attend. Many of the lectures were written up in part or in full in the NCECA Journal and so it was possible to make informed decisions about which sessions would be most pertinent to my project. Many thoughts for teachers to consider came from the discussion session ‘What Works?’ – motivation, morale, competition, collaboration, positive reaction and rewards, adventure and extension, communication, critique (aesthetics, content, craft), passion and fun can all be incorporated into classes and workshops.

Influences, symbolism, process, scale, personal vocabulary, social issues, whether works are sculptural or functional are all qualities which can be discussed, related and evaluated and appreciation of which can be taught.
Teacher, tutor, mentor, trainer, modeller, instructor – I have heard all these terms; they do not describe the same activity but they are all educators. Of the educators I met during my study tour some fulfilled only one of the listed roles and some definitely fulfilled two or even more of those roles. The focus and manner of presentation and dissemination of knowledge is as varied as the titles. I have found that it is possible to take something of value from every model. The most inspiring educators with whom I spoke were Cynthia Bringle and Dan Finch in North Carolina and Sandy Brown in Devon, UK. Other highlights included the opportunity to view more than fifty exhibitions of ceramics across all areas I visited.

I have learnt a new motto, “Showcase what you do!” Without exception the studios I visited had a gallery exhibiting examples of the work made in that studio. The motto can also be applied to the promotion of workshops. I have also learnt that it is quite possible to throw exhibition quality pots while watching the rodeo on TV and listening to Blue Grass music at full volume......


Anyone interested in reading my report to the Churchill Trust can access it at www.churchilltrust.com.au

 

 

 

 

 

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July 09 members' event report by Jane Crick

An evening with Lindsay Oesterritter

On Tuesday 14th July, at very short notice, a small number of CPS members were fortunate enough to be present at a most interesting and well-presented talk by Lindsay Oesterritter. Lindsay is currently artist-in-residence at Strathnairn. She is a wood-firer with particular interest in the reaction of unglazed clay to

the flame. She attended Utah State University where, under the tutelage of John Neely and his team, she developed many clay bodies and researched their response to wood-firing and particularly to colour

development during reduction cooling. Lindsay explained very clearly what she meant by "reduction cooling" as it was a term new to many who were present. In most reduction firings with wood or gas the kiln damper is closed, or partly closed, near the end of the firing to reduce the oxygen in the atmosphere in the kiln and then there is often a short period of reoxidation before the kiln is clamped up and allowed to cool naturally. In "reduction cooling" the kiln is fired to it's top temperature, with reduction, and then after the kiln has been clamped the fire is occasionally fed with small amounts of fuel to ensure that

the atmosphere in the kiln remains starved of oxygen while the temperature drops. This ensures that the clay body remains reduced and retains any of the colours developed during the firing. Lindsay is not a fan of huge ash deposits on pots but she particularly likes the contrast between the honey coloured natural ash glazed areas and the "cranberry" reds of the clay body she prefers. Lindsay illustrated her talk with images of her simple forms with peaceful surfaces, with a lot of the "cranberry" she looks for.

Thank you Lindsay for a most informative and enjoyable presentation.

Photo source Internet - http://www.avicam.com/profile/oesterritter.php

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May 09 members' event report by Jane Crick

The Benalla Community Mural with Lisa Baier

On 29th May a small group of CPS members gathered to be totally enthralled by Lisa Baier's presentation on her "personal addiction" - the Benalla Ceramic Mural. The history and recent working on the mural are well detailed in the latest issue of the Journal of Australian Ceramics (issue 48/1). Lisa expanded on her personal involvement with the mural and gave a stimulating and informative visual presentation referencing the development of the community artwork - a 25-year project to date - to the work of Antonio Gaudi, internationally acclaimed Spanish architect. The curves, cupolas and mosaics of the mural are certainly reminiscent of those seen in Barcelona, whilst the continuing theme represents a very Australian ethos. The Benalla council have now decreed that the mural must be finished by 2010; volunteers are still needed to ensure that the work is finished. For those who missed this exciting event - I feel sorry for you. There are brochures about the Benalla Mural in the committee room if you wish to find out more. It would be a fascinating short detour on a trip to Melbourne and maybe you will become as addicted as Lisa.

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March 09 members' event report by Jane Crick

Anita McIntyre

What a pleasure it was to welcome Anita McIntyre to the Canberra Potters' Society studio. Those members who came on what was the first evening of the long weekend holiday were not disappointed. Anita spoke with enthusiasm and humour of her early-life love of painting and her experience as a High School student in Queanbeyan having to study "ART" by distance education as "ART" was not offered in the general curriculum.

She told of her discovery that painting did not have to be a literal illustration of what was seen but could be an expression of ideas in an abstract way. After leaving school Anita continued to pursue painting and after a few years it was suggested to her that she should also try "pottery". Like so many of us she fell in love with clay and has used it to express her art for many years now.

Shortly after completing her tertiary qualification at what is now the ANU Canberra School of Art, Anita joined the staff of that establishment and she continued there until her retirement from full time teaching in 2003, and is still involved as a Visiting Fellow.


Anita's early work was very much influenced by her travels around Australia and she showed some stunning views of the Kimberleys and other areas of northern and western Australia and indicated how they had influenced her work. Aboriginal spirits and central Australian desert landscapes also played their part in the development of her decoration.


Most recently Anita has become intensely interested in her family history. A fourth generation Australian from one side and a fifth generation one from the other side means that she feels a great bond with the land. Using old parish maps, following traditional migration pathways of creatures endemic to the Queanbeyan area, such as the Bogong moth, and ever influenced by features in the landscape Anita tells, through her work, the story of her predecessors’ interaction with the land.


An entertaining and inspirational evening.

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This information last updated 20/02/17