Hybrid Places by Janet DeBoos (accomplished head of the ANU ceramics department) newest body of work on exhibition at the Sabbia Gallery in Sydney Australia. Check it out!
She uses “iconic imagery from the high point of Chinese porcelain decoration, colour & line from the desert and bush of Australia (Ernabella terra sigillata, Australian flora) and that most ancient of techniques from the ceramics lexicon (sgraffito or ‘scratching’) to attempt to create a hybrid pottery that is both contemporary and timeless, culturally specific and yet borderless.”
It is always so nice to see people you have bumped into through life making it happen. I remember the last critique in regards to Cathy’s work at Australian National University so well. I remember holding her small intricate scraffito containers, like a seed in my hand. Cathy was so connected to Australian flora. I got glimpses of seeing her work things out, trying to figure out how she could say what she needed in its regards through the making of pottery.
I am glad to see that her body of work done and her goals met. As she says:
My proposal was as follows: research into a linocut style sgraffito technique and suitable form to express Australian flora and the impact of environmental degradation. My journey was to take each of these components and to explore them deeply; intellectually, technically and creatively.
I have stumbled across an article written by her that explains and concludes her time spent at ANU. It is eloquently written with sentences like:
Being in the bush can be a simpler state of being. It also reveals a distance from the human built context and environment. It shows that that the human world is fragile and impermanent and the natural world is complete, bigger and self sustaining, or something like that.
It pains me to think that we never talked about the wild extremes of our countries. Especially since her sentiments towards nature are so akin to my own. Being here at tower and simply watching the trees, birds, and bears all day in isolation draws me towards her work. At the time I was even experimenting with australian fauna imagery on my pots through transfers. I was trying to wrap my head around a dichotomy of cultural icons, Australia vs. Canada. I always came back to nature and landscape. Needless to say the article is worth a read. So do so here.
I went to Australia to soda fire. The scans from my sketchbook to the left show my diagrams of the ANU soda (downdraft) kiln, a little old beast that faired us well, aptly named Brighid! The photo’s up top are of the firings we did over a four-month period! They give you an idea of what is involved.
The arrow in the side view picture indicates the flow of flame and soda in the kiln and through the pots. For a quick explanation of how soda firing works check out this blog posting.
All of this week’s posts have to do with soda firing and kilns. It is a long overdue. I am obsessed with soda firing, the possibilities are endless and the intimate way of firing is something I have long wanted to experience.
This summer I built a woodfired soda kiln! A pretty audacious undertaking and something I hope to do many many many times in the future. If you know anyone that needs help taking down, moving around and building kilns in the Kootenays (or further) I am so eager and willing to help. Kiln building is just the sort of thing you need to jump into and learn as you go! I hope you enjoy this week’s posts. I know I will. Kilns can be seemingly mysterious but they aren’t!
Talk about kilns has been a long time coming on the blog. It may not seem the average Joe’s interest but give this week’s posts a read please. You’ll be surprised what you learn! Firing ceramics is “like painting with fire” and it is too true. Just imagine.
Woosi (an amazing potter!) eating the pie I brought to the woodfiring at ANU- third times the charm (I had a lot of pumpkim puree), made from scratch!!! None of that canned pumpkin jazz in Australia.
Speaking of woodfiring at ANU, I have been meaning to post pictures about the experience and write a little something something about it, and I will, but the wonderful Micelle Lim has beat me to it on her prompt and interesting blog. It has some entertain video’s in it including a close up of me mowing down some bread near the kiln we so aptly named “La Cocina Del Diablo”- The Devil’s Kitchen!
As you know I am home. Before the trip it dawned on me that something would have to be done about all this pottery I made and so two studio mates and myself got down to business and worked over a time a bit to make some cash. Here is the poster I made up and some happy mug owners.
I was looking about and found my studio mate’s blog: 26 Stories. The blog takes us through her process in making and producing her body of work for this semester. It also gives us insight into the life in an University ceramics studio. There is even a picture of me holding a kiln self and looking like a nun in the rain…
It is nice to see such clarity in not only Michelle’s throught and making process but also in her blog’s presentation.