Showing posts from January, 2015

Art for whom? vs what art, and by whom?

Most art laws tries to bring together

two opposing objectives, 
the pursuit of professional excellence  and  wider community participation.
Classic Us vs Them, or Them and Us binary thinking.
But we are not alone in Australia with this problem.  

Seeing our common dilemmas from another culture provides a fresh perspective.

"Freshness" does not garantee a solution for ourselves, but, at the least it may make it easier to live with our dilemma.

A Finnish  artist wrote
"...  I was invited to take part in a panel to discuss the topic of ‘for whom should art be made?’ 
The discussion centred on whether art should be made for a professional arts audience or for a wider public, and what the need was for applied arts and societal arts in today’s society in general. 
I remained silent for most of the discussion, as I felt I could not grasp the point of the question. 
The question seemed to portray art as a specific kind of a ‘product’, which was manufactured by professionals an…

I have no idea what I'm doing...

One of the most embarrassing things after giving a paper clay workshop is viewing video of my demonstrations.

Luckily the cringe factor diminishes slowly over time.

I've just re-discovered some video from a workshop over two years ago, that I gave in Khnemu Studio, Michigan, USA.

In a fit of madness I had decided to demonstrate how to make something I had made over 14 years ago,  and only once since,  for a demonstration 6 years ago at Desert Dragon Pottery, Phoenix.

I'm now unsure what induced the madness, but a throw away comment I made during the video motivated this blog.
The orthodox for demonstrations is to show what you're good at, which means showing techniques you have used thousands of time in the studio over the last decade or so.
There's one serious problem with this safe route.
It makes the technique look very easy and the result fantastic, but is very difficult for audience members to duplicate successfully, particularly beginners.
By making a "wonk…

The 2015 US paper clay "road show"

2015 US paper clay workshop and Symposia dates are now confirmed for Philadelphia, Boston and Phoenix.

 Beat the rush, by online enrolling via links from 

Reload/refresh your browser if you have previously visited that webpage, to see the more up to date version.

Do be quick as sometimes we can't squeeze in additional workshops (to accommodate late comers).

Note:   I do accept late requests for workshops from other US groups.  I do check with the first workshop organisers, and sometimes it does happen.

If interested, please do contact me immediately via the above webpage link.


Hot tip for aspiring artists.

Over the last dozen months,  I and a group of other artists, have been digging out

old newspaper articles and images from when we first started exhibiting together at art school

and for a dozen years after.

This nostalgic action is also a gesture,  a hope that it might give emerging artists ideas/tips.

When we started out I created webpages for the events.

These were then taken down again after the event.

So it's now easy to upload them to thermal shockers webpages

Hope these give you some ideas, inspiration.

1) If you're looking, and found this blog entry then you're on the right track.

2) Find others and stick together as long as you can.

3) Plan an exhibition, share the load organising it, support, criticise and encourage each other.

The rest will come from just simply doing this.

I wish you all the best!

Are you Different?

While unloading a kiln today, on a holiday weekend, I was thinking about my students attitude towards clay.
It constantly surprises me when new students become "over excited" about clay. 
Sometimes I forget how I first felt over 40 years ago, when I first started my own clay journey.
I began seriously working with clay at a time when I was developing a sense of my own identity as a teenager.

(image: c. 1973)
Initially pottery / clay sculpture, was within Art at school, although somehow I ended up taking it as two subjects.

(image:c. 1979)
Then at teacher's college I specialised in Art and Craft,  but negotiated to major in ceramics, and live across the road to the studio with out of hours access.

(image: Subiaco dining table 1989)
Later I attended evening hobby classes at Subiaco and Applecross TAFE, and also made at home.

Then I went back to university and retrained as a professional, specialist ceramic, or clay, artist

Now, my private hobby is also my public occupation.

A …