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Wednesday, November 10, 2010


This is the batch from last term that were glazed this term. I'd loaded one of them up with celadon glaze which didn't take. I think I should've rinsed off the pot as it must have collected some dust between the bisque and glaze firings.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

School Holidays

We spent a few days at Katomba recently and part of one at the Jenolan Caves. There are some striking examples of the forces of nature at work.

Monday, September 6, 2010

More pottery

Today I brought home the pieces I've made so far this term. I'd put green glazes over a white glaze but had done it so thickly that large flakes had come off in some places before they were fired. This led to more unpredicatability than expected. The first of the single images shows a piece that has green and transparent glaze without an initial white.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold

I find the further I go into this adventure with clay and fire the less I "get it". The beginning is centering - making the clay one with the wheelhead - balancing the forces at play. I can see and feel when the clay is not centered but only with luck can I push, shape and cajole the clay so that it is centered.

I wonder what there is to learn from this. My mood fluctuates through frustration, bemusement and exhilaration depending on what happens and the degree of control I feel I have over the process.

There is jackhammering going on nextdoor. A 200,000,000 year old sandstone outcrop is being smashed to rubble to make way for a townhouse. This afternoon I briefly escaped the noise, dust and vibration to sit in our car. By chance two poems by W B Yeats were read over the radio: "For Anne Gregory" and "An Irish Airman Foresees His Death".

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Glazing over

(a shelf in our playroom)

Yesterday morning I glazed the rest of the pots I've made this term. Again a complex and multi-faceted business. Variations are endless and happy accidents as likely as carefully controlled predicatble outcomes.

It'll be next term before I get to see the results. I imagine I'll be more and less surprised than I think.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

More pots

These are the other three from the first batch. Experiments with underglaze decoration. I'm not sure that I like the middle one. It has a cartoonlike quality that should have been predictable.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Feats of clay

These are two of the first batch I've made. When I first saw them I realised I'd lost sight of the fact that everything I do to the clay is recorded in it or on it.

I had the last but one class for this term today. This was spent turning the bases of the last few pots I'd thrown. They'll be bisque fired during the week and I'll glaze them next week.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Battling the clay god

I went to my first pottery class last Monday. The group of us that were new to it decided we wanted to start by learning to throw. I found it really difficult to get a lump of clay centered on the wheel. It felt like there was too much to remember so that I remained in control.

It was a battle of wills that most times I lost and what felt like promising shapes ended up more and more awry and eventually fell to pieces. This was simultaneously amusing and frustrating.

Later I e-discussed this process with a friend who is a potter and she described the centering process as I'd seen it demonstrated and it was more absorbable to me as words than it had been watching it. Reading it made more sense than seeing it.

No class this Monday as it's the Anzac Day public holiday but I'm really looking forward to trying again the following Monday. The two pieces I did make will be ready to have their bases shaped.

Sunday, February 14, 2010


I've been thinking about barriers and walls and separation lately. I took these photos around New Year shortly before the locations changed dramatically.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Gateway into the world

This bowl has two different whites and variations of both in the glaze.

Mirek Smisek

Gateway into the world, Mirek Smisek, 2009. Snowglaze, 85 x 175.
Mirek Smisek has worked as a potter in New Zealand since 1951. I met him at his studio/gallery at Waikanae last Wednesday. He seems very grounded and very energised, calm and vibrant. He emphasised to me and the friends I was with that life is enhanced if you're doing something creative. He encouraged us to start some creative activity.
His advice contrasted to that given by a "life coach" on the radio on New Year's Day who managed to seem manic and mawkish - banality masquerading as profundity.

Saturday, January 2, 2010


We've had a good batch of night flowering cactus flowers this season. Since I took this photo Xmas and New Years Eve have happened and I had a four day trip to Te Horo to go to a wedding.

I went with the friends I was staying with to Mirek Smisek and Pamella Annsouth's pottery and gallery at Waikanae. Mirek spoke of his belief that creativity is an essential part of human behaviour. The exhibition '60 Years 60 Pots' is a survey of his work from 1949 to 2009.