More members' event reports:
October 08 members' event report by Jane Crick with
photos by Bridget Anderson
With her most informative and
stimulating presentation Avi Amesbury demonstrated one of the
abiding tenets of her practice - the importance of a truly
professional approach to all aspects of that practice.
From the beginning Avi's work has
involved the use of materials collected from the land. She finds
use of these collected materials gives her a means to explore
the multi-layered relationships between landscape and
experience. Avi graduated from ANU in 2002 and while studying
there began to use natural clay slips on porcelain. The natural
clays gave her an amazing palette of colours with which to work
as she made her personal interpretations of landscape. Recently
Avi has been incorporating volcanic ash into her porcelain and
again the collected materials have given her an unexpected and
intriguing response. Avi showed us some stunning images of her
work and brought several examples for us to handle and discuss.
Another important development which
occurred during her time at ANU was an overseas student
residency when she became aware of the possibilities offered by
modern technical communication. She has continued to be
fascinated by internet communication and it is now an integral
part of her work in the field of ceramics.
Avi, for a visually exciting and thought-provoking evening.
August 08 members' event (2) report by Jane Crick with
photos by Ian Hodgson
Bungendore Field Trip
On 17th August 2008, a beautiful
Sunday, fifteen members and friends travelled to Bungendore to
visit the many art galleries in the town and particularly to
meet two members in their studios.
Rick Beviss welcomed us to
Bungendore 10 Pottery in the morning and spoke of the
enjoyment he got from making pots and the equipment necessary
for making them. Rick makes all his own tools from found objects
- I'll never look at bicycle brake levers the same way again -
and also makes all the wooden and cane handles for his favourite
Rick discussed his glazes and the
firing of his Brereton gas kiln.
Several of us enjoyed massive and
delicious sandwiches at Logan's Cafe, a new eatery in town, and
then we all met again at Pam Barker's home on Weeroona
Pam gave us a tour of her studio and
gallery and then generously invited us into her home to see some
wonderful pots from her own collection, both her own work and
that of many other potters of renown. Whilst we enjoyed a most
refreshing cup of tea, Pam told us of her days studying at the
School of Art with its first intake of ceramic students. Under
the guidance of head of workshop Alan Peascod (other tutors
included Hiroe Swen, Bill Huff-Johnson and Janet DeBoos) the new
graduates were encouraged to set up the Canberra Potters'
Society to enable them to continue to practice.
Pam said that it was a golden age
for ceramics and they were lucky to be able to take advantage of
the opportunities which were presented.
Thank you, Rick, and Thank you, Pam, we had a great day.
08 members' event (1) report by Jane Crick with photos by
On 1st August 2008 John Henderson, a
respected practitioner of the Japanese Tea Ceremony, brought a
large number of ceramic items from his personal collection to
show members of CPS.
John took great care in the set up
of his display so that he could tell us the procedure for
presenting a tea ceremony from entry to the tea house, through
the decoration of the tearoom, the preparation of the tea and
the very important choice and appreciation of the tea bowls.
John illustrated his comments with
examples of pots for each stage. Some of the wares were
specifically made for special occasions, such as the gold and
silver tea bowls for the first tea of the season, and some were
found objects, which John likes to include as a personal
statement. Examples of these included a small Delft candleholder
that John used as a lid rest and an Imari wheelbarrow used as an
John was very generous in allowing
members to handle and examine his valuable pots and I am sure
that his generosity was appreciated.
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08 members' event report & photos by
- Production Throwing
A familiar smiling face around the
studios, Cathy Franzi introduced us on a Friday night to her
world of production throwing. For those of you who were unable
to make it to this members’ event, production throwing is the
act of throwing repeat items.
Cathy amazed us with her skill on
the wheel - quickly pulling up form after form with incredible
speed. Cathy informed us she averages 100 pots a week, including
sixty different shapes!
Cathy began production throwing in
Adelaide (16 years ago) and at present is throwing for Bison in
Pialligo with whom she has been throwing for about 6-7 years.
Although Cathy made it all look
rather easy with her flawless throwing, repetition potting is a
particular skill, taking a lot of practice.
Stepping us through her process we
learnt that measurement of the weight of clay is important,
judgement of size and the feel of the clay beneath your hands.
Also let’s not forget economy of
movement - you don’t want to spend any more unnecessary time on
* 2 circular bats stuck together
with a removable square insert. You can then also use a round
bat again on top of these bats. These bats proved very useful
when throwing multiple forms.
* A curved rib (as pictured) is
Cathy’s main tool which is good to smooth edges, shape and to
cut and trim.
* A de-airing pug mill is essential
– it is important to get the right consistency of the clay.
To begin reproducing a form you have
to know how to throw and then move onto repeating that form…
this can take a long time to perfect! To help get you started
Cathy passed this important information on:
To copy a piece, first you need to
know the shrinkage of the clay –
X = wet measurement;
S = shrinkage; P = finished measurement
X = (100 x P) / (100 – S)
Second, understand the shape.
Cathy’s good book recommendation is
‘Functional Pottery’ (click
here for a review).
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April 08 members' event report from
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Stefan is a Swiss potter, who
originally trained as a plumber, which no doubt explains his
expertise with tin snips. He then switched to social work, and
finally, about 12 years ago, to full time ceramics. Stefan’s
speciality is raku and, in particular, kilns that he
manufactures to his own design, using an Ikea 40 litre pedal
rubbish bin. The kilns burn wood, and in half an hour, with just
a shoebox full of kindling sticks Stefan can get his kiln up to
1000ºC. It takes another 15–20 minutes to get the glaze well and
truly runny and then the pots are taken out of the kiln and put
into a bin of sawdust, where they cool rapidly in a smoky
atmosphere. This gives a black surface to unglazed areas of the
work and the classic black crazing of crackle glazes, as well as
the dazzling colours of the multitude of other raku glazes.
evening was well attended by about 30 members and friends, who
were well rewarded with a most entertaining talk and slide show,
and the demonstration firing—a real fun night. Many thanks to
Stefan Jakob for his generosity in making this a free event. I
don’t know how many people went to his workshop as a result of
attending the evening, but I look forward to seeing the results
of the inevitable surge of interest in raku, over the next few
months and, perhaps, in this year’s members’ exhibition.
Stefan told us there are over 1500
Ikea raku kilns in Switzerland, most made from kits put together
in his workshop. Twenty-two were produced at the Strathnairn
workshop, and more will be made in Sydney and Perth before
Stefan heads home. Maybe one day there will be 1500 in
Australia. It would be nice to think so. Good luck Stefan, and
February 08 members' event report from Lisa Baier:
Wow! What a fantastic way to
commence our members’ events for the year 2008. A substantial
amount of members gathered at the Potters’ Society to observe
Janette Loughrey, potter and teacher from Wollongong,
demonstrate her inimitable techniques in earthenware
underglaze design and decoration on Fri 15 Feb.
Janette began the evening with an
interesting and diverse slide show of her work whilst
presenting a brief synopsis of her own journey into the realm
of ceramics. Janette also brought a wonderful selection of
mugs, plates and bowls for us to hold, study and admire
The demonstration (which lasted
for two hours) was captivating! Janette, whilst selecting from
a palette of underglaze colours, displayed the many ways in
which she achieves the surface decoration on her ‘ceramic
bits’ (name of her business) - from the blending and layering
of colours, the use of various brushes, latex and paper
resist, coloured slip contrast, paper decals, sponge stamps
etc. Janet was extremely magnanimous in sharing with us some
of her trade secrets that took her years to figure out and
graciously answered many questions that were asked throughout
I would like to thank the members’
events co-ordinator, Jane Crick, for your hard work behind the
scenes in organising this stimulating and enriching occasion.
Thanks also to the participation of the members whose
attendance makes an event like this truly successful.
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